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Environmental groups call for stronger approach on climate from IMO

Environmental groups call for stronger approach on climate from IMO

A group of environmental organisations have called for the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s secretary general Kitack Lim to accelerate its greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

A letter from organisations including the Clean Shipping Coalition, the Environmental Defence Fund and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), calls for Lim to put policies in place to ensure that decarbonisation happens on a time-frame consistent with keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5°C.

They stated: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on 1.5°C has shown that the decarbonisation of the fleet needs to be complete before 2050 and the level of ambition in the IMO’s GHG strategy must be adjusted accordingly.”

The letter hinted that Lim’s legacy will be shaped by this issue as his tenure runs to 2023, the same date when the IMO Initial Strategy and its goals will be reviewed, revised and assessed on whether concrete policies to reduce shipping’s climate impact have been implemented.

The organisations acknowledged that there “no single solution” that will solve shipping’s contribution to the climate crisis but called for the IMO to work with disparate groups including the EU, individual countries and ports, to encourage complementary efforts and higher ambition.

“This will ensure that together the entire shipping sector becomes a trailblazer for climate action; a sector that can be considered a model of climate leadership,” they said.

The groups additionally stated that innovative policies from the IMO and “visionary leadership” from Lim would be needed to ensure that difficult choices for the shipping sector can be made.

They added: “But the reward will be huge. A stable climate for future generations and the avoidance of countless deaths (not least of seafarers), economic disruption, infrastructure damage and stranded assets from climate change effects across the world.”