A coalition of countries from the Pacific Islands and Europe have announced their intention to ensure that the United Nation’s International Maritime Organisation delivers on the shipping climate goals agreed upon as part of the Paris Agreement.
Ministers met in Tonga last week to agree upon a “High Ambition Coalition for shipping” that would seek to force the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to adhere to making substantive contributions towards the Paris Agreement goal of ensuring global temperatures remain well below 2 degrees. Shipping emissions were not covered under the 2015 Paris Agreement, but the IMO was mandated to deliver a package for the sector.
The Coalition is made up of countries which include the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, Germany, France, and Denmark. The IMO meet in London next month.
Additionally, a new paper submitted to the IMO by the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Solomon Islands laid out overall targets for shipping’s emissions reductions that would be consistent with a “fair share” of the global burden necessary to achieve a target of global warming of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. According to the IMO’s own 2014 own greenhouse gas emissions report, shipping is currently responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon pollution from the sector could increase by anywhere between 50% to 250% by the middle of this century.
“The science is clear – without immediate and rapid decarbonisation of this major and growing source of GHG, 1.5 degree stabilization will not be achieved,” said Mike Halferty , Marshall Islands minister of Transportation and Communication.
“RMI is host to the world’s second largest shipping registry. Many of our island neighbours here today also host registries of global significance. This means not only our islands have a unique responsibility to influence the ambition of the IMO, many of our government’s revenues are closely tied to a well-managed decarbonisation of the international shipping industry. We are working with our registry, to advance the Pacific position and we invite our neighbours who find themselves in the same situation to do the same.”
“IMO has in the past been very slow, but a new hope for progress on GHG was initiated in 2015, when the government of the Marshall Islands decided to overcome its registry, in defence of its people, and call on IMO to set an ambitious target,” explained Nicolas Udrea, negotiator for France on GHG at IMO.
“We are very proud to form this cooperation with Tonga, one of the several between Pacific and European countries that have formed the cornerstone of our work in the High Ambition Coalition for shipping,” added Karin Jacobs, senior advisor, Netherlands government.