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'Modest progress' made on decarbonising shipping sector

Staff Writer |
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted a seven step plan towards decarbonising the shipping industry following pressure exerted by a coalition of Pacific countries.

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But while their proposal for the shipping sector to adopt climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement gained overwhelming expressions of support, the IMO said a consensus was not reached between more than 170 member nations.

It said at last week's London meeting, China and India voiced strong support for alternative low carbon fuels, while European nations joined the Pacific in highlighting the urgent need for sector action.

However a number of countries including Brazil and Chile were concerned about potentially negative impacts of carbon reduction measures.

The IMO's director of shipping Bill Hemmings said political differences prevented substantive progress despite a strong delegation of Pacific Island nations vulnerable to climate change calling for an ambitious reduction target.

"A sense of urgency was lacking and hopes have again been deferred to the next meeting being held in October nearly two years after the Paris Agreement," said Mr Hemmings.

Mike Halferty, the Marshall Islands minister for transport, said while only modest progress had been made there was large support for the vision of emissions reductions from the sector.

"For the Marshall Islands ... that means decarbonisation of the sector by 2050. It is clear that much more rapid progress will need to be made at the second working group in October in order to deliver the initial strategy by 2018."

Solomon Islands ambassador to Europe, Moses Mose, said he was encouraged that many countries shared the Pacific's interests.

"We must seize on this opportunity to produce tangible progress so that IMO has something credible to report to COP 24 in 2018," said Mr Mose.

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