Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



climate change, international shipping, IMO, UNFCCC, Paris Climate Agreement, GHG emissions


This paper discusses the role of international shipping in climate change mitigation, i.e., its emerging contribution to reduce carbon emissions in the wake of the Paris Agreement, 2015 and the expectation that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will orchestrate the industry's contribution. The adoption of appropriate targets and standards is expected to be a particularly difficult task because of the global and transnational nature of the shipping industry and the difficulty in establishing the basis for a fair contribution for this industry. While considerable progress has been achieved in enhancing technical and operational regulations to improve efficiencies and reduce harmful emissions, there is concern such measures might not be enough to reduce ship GHG emissions sufficiently. It is arguable that market-based measures could make a difference, but this subject has been controversial and to date has eluded consensus. If a credible plan for industry's contribution does not promise a realistic fair contribution, it is conceivable that a future meeting of Contracting Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992, might revisit the decision to defer to the IMO on ship emissions and potentially encourage regionalism in forcing the industry's contribution.