• The climate DEAL of the year

    April 9-13, London

  • WHAT IS MEPC 72?

    The landmark Paris Agreement of 2015 set the world on course for a carbon neutral economy by mid-century.


    There’s just one piece of the puzzle missing – the global shipping industry.


    The United Nations body responsible for this sector is the International Maritime Organization (IMO), based in London. This April, country representatives from around the world are gathering to strike a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. It is imperative that all countries act in the best long-term interests of their own citizens, and ensure that increasingly polluting shipping does not undermine the Paris Agreement.

  • What steps can I take?

    French President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit in December saw 34 countries signing the Tony de Brum declaration – an urgent call for climate action in the shipping industry, named in honor of the late former foreign minister of the Marshall Islands. To date, a total of 44 countries have signed the declaration.


    Governments can sign on and show they are serious about climate action, so the first step is to make sure your country is on the list. This is an “easy win” for countries to gain goodwill ahead of the climate negotiations at COP 24 in Poland in December.


    Click on 'Send email' below to start the process of signing the Tony de Brum declaration on behalf of your country. A blank email will pop up for you to fill in and send to the declaration organisers.

  • During the Intersessional Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, April 3-6, also bear in mind:


    A global GHG reduction plan with a level of ambition of 70-100% reduction on 2008 levels by 2050.


    Anything less, and the shipping sector will undermine the Paris Agreement’s commitment to keep temperature rise well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and strive for 1.5°C.


    If no agreement is reached, it would be an abject failure by a UN organisation tasked 21 years ago by the Kyoto Protocol with addressing emissions from international shipping, and would almost certainly lead to regional organizations such as the EU taking control of the regulation of GHG emissions from shipping. 


    The shipping sector requires policy certainty so that investment decisions can follow. Many leading shipping companies are calling for a serious carbon deal, to attract a share of the hundreds of billions of dollars in investment currently flowing into electric transportation, and the solar, wind and biofuels sectors.


    The longer carbon emission reductions are delayed, the more expensive and disruptive to the shipping industry the change will be.


    Banks are increasingly worried about exposing themselves to stranded assets in shipping, and need to be convinced the sector has a clear plan to deal with the ongoing withdrawal from coal, and a short-term peak in demand for oil in road fuels.


    Procrastination is not an option for those countries where climate change poses an existential threat, such as the Marshall Islands.

  • Climate and shipping FAQs

    Won’t a carbon deal for shipping hinder world trade, and hurt developing countries?

    Ambitious climate action in the shipping sector will require co-operation by all Member States, just like the Paris Agreement did/does, yet a number of countries are trying to delay action or offer only token efforts at the IMO, most notably South American Member States. The concerns raised by these countries are not unreasonable and need to be considered, but they also need to be balanced in light of the urgent need to de-carbonize the sector which is currently not the case. If shipping blows the world’s carbon budget and we push past 1.5˚C to 2˚C of warming, developing countries will be first to pay the price, with catastrophic impacts on their economies, citizens' livelihoods, and infrastructure.

    Shipping is the most efficient form of transport. Why should it do more?

    International shipping carries around 90% of world trade, and has made possible the last few decades of economic globalization, and its emissions currently represent a significant percentage of all pollution and are scheduled to jump dramatically over the next few years without intervention. The fact is that to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate change, every sector needs to responsibly reduce its emissions. The shipping sector emits more greenhouse gases that nearly every country in the world – many of them developing countries that have constrained financial capacity to invest in large-scale systems change. It is simply not fair to ask developing countries to cut their emissions in stark outright terms, while vessels often ferrying consumer and lifestyle goods to the rich world continue to pump out climate-destabilizing gases.

    Japan has an interesting proposal on GHG – should we just back that?

    Japan is one of the countries leading the debate on shipping emissions. However, their plan which calls for a 50% cut in emissions by 2060 is simply too little, too late. Locking in this low-ambition goal would risk shipping single handedly blowing the world’s carbon budget – the amount of carbon dioxide we can safely emit into the atmosphere before its warming effect pushes global temperatures above the crucial 1.5˚C and 2˚C degree thresholds. The shipping industry has a proud history of innovation stretching back centuries, and now has the chance to be at the cutting edge of progress once again.

    Does the technology to reach 100% decarbonization even exist yet?

    Despite what you may have heard… rapidly decarbonizing - even to 100% in the next two decades - is technically feasible. The OECD’s transport research unit showed this is possible by the 2030s.


    A little over 100 years ago, shipping began its revolutionary switch from steam (i.e. coal) to oil, led by the British Navy. Now the industry is called on to make another dramatic upgrade in its propulsion technology, and will rise to the challenge.

  • The Blog

    Hindu groups and leaders have spoken up many times on the urgent need to tackle climate change. Just three years have passed since the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change was published. As that declaration said: “We must base our response to climate change on a number of central principles,...
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