London: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for a strategy to reduce the shipping industry’s emissions to net zero by 2050 as a key meeting of the International Maritime Organisation started here, aiming for a consensus among the 175-member states to critically reduce the carbon emissions in the sector.
In a video message at the start of the Marine Environment Protection Committee‘s 80th session here, Guterres also urged for a science-based targets by 2030 both on absolute emissions reductions and the use of clean fuels.
“I urge you to leave London having agreed a Greenhouse Gas Strategy that commits the sector to net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest,” he said.
The shipping industry accounts for almost 3 per cent of global emissions.
The MEPC’s 80th session is hopeful to reach a consensus among the member states to set out a carbon-neutral goal by 2050 with interim targets aimed at 2030 and 2040.
“This meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee is a chance to steer us towards a clean, prosperous future for the industry and a safer future for humanity,” the UN chief added.
The Inter-sessional Working Group on Reduction of Greenhouse gas emissions from ships, which had its deliberations from June 26 to 30, failed to achieve any significant goals, especially measures to drive the shipping industry to align with the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees celsius.
Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), speaking at the plenary of the session said that if the parties represented at the IMO choose a low-ambition pathway, the ability to meet the Paris agreements will be compromised.
“..three months ago, IPCC’s AR6 and UNFCCC’s Nationally Determined Contributions synthesis report added more clarity and details to the simple truth-this body has to do more on climate change now,” Stiell said.
The IMO is hoping to achieve a path-breaking goal during the key meeting this week, though the talks on a financial levy on the GHG emissions on the industry are yet to make any headway.
The IMO member states have been poles apart with regard to the targets and also with regard to the financial levy, sources said.
Countries like the USA, UK, and Canada are asking for a 37 per cent reduction in GHG by 2023 and a 96 per cent by 2040, to achieve a net zero by 2050, in line with the IPCC trajectory.
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The European Union has proposed a 29 per cent cut by 2030 and 83 per cent by 2040.
India is yet to commit to any such targets though India’s official goal for a net zero carbon emission is set for 2070. However, according to an earlier government press statement, India is the only country chosen by IMO to launch a pilot project, Green Voyage, aiming at achieving Green Shipping.
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