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The 1997 Kyoto Protocol tasked the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to address the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, but more than 20 years later little has been done. 

The emissions from international shipping could grow 250% by 2050 if left unregulated. Since 2007, IMO has considered several approaches including market-based measures as an option to address GHG emissions. In 2018, IMO agreed on an initial emissions reduction strategy, including the goal of reducing emissions from shipping by 50% by 2050. However, the Fourth IMO GHG Study shows that emissions from ships are still increasing rapidly. In the meantime, IMO has only managed to agree on weak and voluntary climate action for the next ten years which seriously undermines the 2018 goal. 

The European Union prefers a global solution but is ready to act if the IMO won’t. In the EU Green Deal, the European Commission promises to include international shipping in the EU carbon market. The European Parliament has voted to bring international shipping under the EU carbon market even before the 2021 revision of the EU carbon market.

As a member of the “Clean Shipping Coalition” (CSC), Carbon Market Watch is an official observer to the IMO and follows its climate policy development process. With ships commissioned today likely to still be in use for 30 years, we call for rapid action, including an effective carbon price for the sector to address its growing emissions. We support the plans to bring international shipping into the EU carbon market in addition to an ambitious international price on maritime transportation’s climate pollution.

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