IMO sets ‘by or around 2050’ as net zero target for global shipping industry

London, July 7: The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on Friday agreed on a “flexible” net zero target of 2050 actively propagated by the developing nations, with a net zero goal “by or around” that is closer to 2050 and a clause reading “if the national circumstances allow”.

The IMO agreeing on a considerable reduction of the Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) in the global shipping industry, which is at present a major contributor to climate change with one billion tonnes of emission per year, went softer on the strict net zero targets by 2050, which was actively propagated by the developed nations and some of the island nations.

The member states, however, have agreed to the indicative checkpoints of reducing emissions at least by 20 per cent, striving for 30 per cent by 2030, and at least 70 per cent, striving for 80 per cent by 2040.

The civil society organisations, while accusing IMO of failing to align the shipping industry with the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, said the level of ambition agreed is far short of what is needed to be sure of keeping the global heating below 1.5C.

The London-based IMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations which is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships.

The Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of IMO has also agreed on a goal to uptake zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and energy sources, “at least 5 per cent, striving for 10 per cent by 2030”.

The resolution for the GHG emission reduction adopted on the concluding day of the 80th Session of MEPC at the IMO headquarters also included a paragraph pressing on the need to pay attention to the plight of seafarers, who are now ill-equipped to handle green fuels, pressing the need to train the workforce.

India is the second largest provider of seafarers in the world.

The IMO has also renamed the financial levy as an “economic measure” and moved it to the basket of measures, despite strong opposition from countries like China and Brazil.

Most of the developing nations had been lobbying for the mid-century target — could be 2051, 2052 or 2053, insisting on not strictly fixing 2050 as the year for achieving net zero.

The shipping industry accounts for almost 3 per cent of global emissions. (PTI)