People of the world demand the UN IMO take action on shipping pollution now

UN at defining moment for 2030 and 2040 climate action on shipping

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has a historic opportunity in the next three months to put the global shipping industry on an equitable, 1.5°C-aligned decarbonisation pathway. Governments must use the upcoming meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Greenhouse Gases (ISWG-GHG-14) to support science-based climate targets for 2030 and 2040 that are vital for this transition.

Last year’s negotiations showed a major breakthrough on stepping up climate ambition for shipping. A clear majority of member states supported the adoption of a 2050 absolute zero-emission reduction target under the IMO’s revised climate strategy, bringing the sector closer than ever before to the Paris Agreement goals.

Pollution from shipping is huge

The IPCC climate science is clear, however, that preventing a global temperature rise beyond the 1.5°C climate-heating limit requires steep and immediate reduction in all greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, including shipping.

IMO member states must listen to the climate science, and urgently commit to halve climate pollution from ships by 2030 and to reach zero-emission by 2040. Given the disproportionate impacts of climate change felt in vulnerable and developing states already today, the IMO must also ensure this transition is just and equitable.

Exceeding the 1.5°C global-heating limit—even if temporarily—risks crossing triggering cascading and irreversible effects of climate change (‘tipping points’), such as ice sheet melt (especially in the Arctic), sea level rise, marine ecosystem loss, extreme weather events and socio-economic disruptions.

To date - shipping has been much less regulated then other sectors

Shipping and ports are particularly vulnerable to these adverse effects, and every year of inaction this decade will add an estimated $100 billion annually to the cost of shipping decarbonisation. This comes on top of the costs of the impacts of climate change on the industry, which is estimated to reach up to $7.1 billion annually by 2050 if countries fail to act.

Clean shipping is possible

Strong 2030 and 2040 targets will determine the IMO’s ambition across climate measures for the coming years, such as action on short-term pollutants (methane and black carbon), mandatory slow-steaming, a carbon levy of at least $100/tonne of greenhouse gas and a fuel standard.

John Maggs, Clean Shipping Coalition, said:

“To trigger shipping’s great transition we need to be true to the science and set ambitious 1.5°C-compatible targetsfor 2030 and 2040. These willset the scene for urgent short-term emission cuts, unlock green investment, and stop the industry from wasting billions on false solutions like fossil LNG. If the IMO only agrees to zero by 2050 it will have failed, signalling years more of business as usual and making the decarbonisation of the sector harder, riskier and vastly more expensive than it needs to be.”

Lucy Gilliam, Seas At Risk, said:

“The IMO’s working group talks take place as climate scientists issue yet another grave warning: act now on climate heating. The IPCC has been clear many times before on the risks to our civilization – especially to our supply networks, ships and coastal communities – and on what we have to do to rise to these challenges. This week at IMO we can put the waymarkers down and set the course for a climate safe, 1.5°C transition for the shipping sector.”

Giant message written previously on the bank of the Thames outside the IMO HQ, London

Sian Prior, Clean Arctic Alliance, said:

“If the Arctic region is to have a sustainable future, there must be deep cuts to climate emissions from shipping, including short-lived climate forcers, such as black carbon and methane, before 2030. Measures to reduce black carbon emissions, one-fifth of shippings’ climate impact, can be introduced immediately – a switch to distillate fuels for ships operating north of 60 degrees North would lead to a rapid reduction in black carbon emissions. This is important not just for the Arctic environment, wildlife and Indigenous communities; what happens in the Arctic has consequences for the planet as a whole.”

Daniele Rao, Carbon Market Watch, said:

"IMO member states must commit to ambitious targets for 2030 and 2040, to bring emissions down faster, earlier, and in a way that can benefit the most impacted by the climate crisis. To reach these targets, countries must support the $100 carbon levy proposed by the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands, which is an effective option on the table for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships."

Find out more here -

On Tuesday morning (21st of March) - Ecohustler will be outside the UN IMO in London to unfurl a banner as delegates arrive for the conference. Please come and join us if you can. Please forward this article to anyone else you think may be up for it. Thank you!

The UN IMO address is - 202 Lambeth Road, London, SE1 7JW

We always enjoy an action outside the IMO! Come on down on Tuesday!