New research from the University of Manchester shows that the current climate targets set for international shipping are far too lax, and would mean the sector cannot play its fair part in meeting the Paris climate goals.
Member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are meeting this week for the 77th gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), with much time spent thus far discussing emissions targets.
New research from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at the University of Manchester concludes that significantly stronger short and longer-term targets need to be set for the sector to be compatible with the Paris Agreement’s goals: 34% reductions on 2008 emissions levels by 2030, and zero emissions before 2050, compared with the sector’s existing target of a 50% cut in CO2 by 2050. Crucially, strengthening the target by the IMO’s 2023 strategy revision date is imperative, something that has been deliberated extensively this week at MEPC.
The longer the delay in setting new targets, the steeper subsequent decarbonisation trajectories
Professor Alice Larkin from the University of Manchester argued that the longer the delay in setting new targets, the steeper subsequent decarbonisation trajectories.
“It has to be all hands on deck for international shipping now. Immediate action that focuses on operational change and retrofitting existing ships is needed to deliver major emissions reductions this decade, or shipping cannot deliver its fair part in meeting the Paris climate goals” she said, adding: “Delay beyond 2023 would mean the future transition for international shipping is too rapid to be feasible.”
MEPC delegates discussed the Marshall Islands’ and Solomon Islands’ resolution proposal for zero emission shipping by 2050 on Monday. In the end, just eight countries supported the zero by 2050 resolution.
Author Sam Chambers