Is the Shipping Industry Doing Its Fair Share in the Global Response to Climate Change?

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Shipping Industry, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, International Maritime Organization


Until recently, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping were periodically raised under the UN climate regime. The Paris Agreement, negotiated in 2015 and in force since November 2016, does not allocate responsibility for emissions from international shipping to any party, but does include emissions from this sector in overall accounting of global emissions and in global emission reduction goals.

Since the signing of the Paris Agreement, the expectation of the global community is that the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN agency responsible for international shipping, will implement an effective strategy to reduce GHG emissions from this sector, in line with the collective long-term goals of the agreement to keep global average temperatures well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels (while making efforts to keep them within 1.5 degrees). This goal will require efforts from all sectors, including international shipping, to decarbonize as quickly as is reasonably possible.