Following the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, countries around the world took efforts to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions, but the maritime sector was not bound by the agreement's targets.
Suggested measures that ports can take to help facilitate the shipping industry in reducing its GHG emissions include provision of ship and onshore power supply from renewable sources, infrastructure to support supply of alternative low and zero-carbon fuels and optimisation of logistics chain planning. But the IMO Secretary General stressed that the agreement was only an initial strategy, a "starting point", with the final roadmap to be finalised by 2023. Ships transport more than 80 per cent of global trade. There was limited opposition to the deal with Saudi Arabia and the United States expressing reservations.
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While the European Union had sought a higher level of ambition, the Commission said the deal was "a good starting point that will allow for further review and improvements over time".
"This is only the beginning of a long and arduous road to ensure that feasible and workable global measures are developed and implemented in a way that guarantees safety and a global level playing field, while minimising their potential impact on the growing world economy and increasing worldwide trade", Veniamis said. "It will require rapid technological changes to produce zero-emission ships, moving from fossil fuels, to a combination of electricity (batteries), renewable fuels derived from hydrogen, and potentially bioenergy", said Tristan Smith, an expert on energy and shipping at the University College London's Energy Institute.
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"What happens next is crucial", said John Maggs, president of the Clean Shipping Coalition and senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk, an umbrella organisation of environmental NGOs.
This landmark agreement, referred to as an initial strategy, is the first step towards formalising a climate action plan by 2023.
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Over 170 countries reached an agreement on IMO's Green House Gas (GHG) strategy, adopted at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) on 13 April, with a strong emphasis on scaling up action to phase out emissions completely. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.