The 1997 Kyoto Protocol tasked the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to address the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, but 20 years later little has been done. The emissions from international shipping could grow by 250% and be responsible for 17% of global emissions 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. Detailed measures on how to reach this will be discussed later this year.

The European Union prefers a global solution but is ready to act if the IMO won’t. The European Parliament has already called for inclusion of international shipping from 2023 in the EU Emissions Trading System if the IMO does not present a convincing plan by 2021.

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 and for its climate plans to be included in the Paris stocktake process to take place from 2018.