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IMO is set to consider an emissions target in April

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The UN shipping body is likely to consider a greenhouse gas emissions target for the sector this spring, its newly appointed chief told Climate Home.

Kitack Lim, who took over the International Maritime Organization (IMO) from Japan’s Koji Sekimizu on 1 January, answered questions by email.

“Contributing to the fight against climate change is a top priority for IMO,” he wrote, “alongside maritime safety and security and the prevention of pollution into the marine environment from ships.”

Emissions from ships account for around 3% of the global total. This is projected to reach 6-15% by 2050 if the sector fails to act in line with national efforts.

National governments agreed in Paris last December to hold global warming “well below 2C”, or to 1.5C if possible. But the deal did not directly address international shipping, leaving that to the IMO.

Last year, the shipping body’s environmental committee rejected a motion to start work on an emissions target. Sekimizu himself argued against capping carbon, on the basis it could constrain world trade. [...]


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