Marshall Islands Calls for Global Cut in Shipping Emissions

In a submission to the International Maritime Organization, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, currently the world’s third largest shipping registry, has called for the setting of a new global target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, a growing sector currently left out of international climate negotiations.

Speaking to the submission, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Tony de Brum said that the goal of keeping global temperature rise under 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius requires action from all countries, and all sectors of the global economy, and that international shipping must be part of the action.

”While the sector currently contributes only 3 per cent of global emissions, its projected growth is a real cause for concern. Without urgent action, it is estimated that the sector could soon account for between 6 and 14 percent of global emissions – as much as the entire European Union emits today,” said Minister de Brum.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol instructed only industrialized countries to work with the International Maritime Organization on limiting shipping emissions, and ever since then global emissions have continued to rise unabated, said de Brum.

”We are the first country in the Pacific to set a transport efficiency target for ourselves – a 20 percent cut in the use of fossil fuels for domestic transport by 2020, and we are exploring other ways to green our international registry,” said de Brum.

“But the actions of one or a small group of registries alone will not be enough. Ships these days can jump easily from flag to flag to avoid tougher standards. Cleaning up this global industry requires a global approach. With a strong wind blowing in the climate action sails en route to Paris, the IMO must move to set a sector-wide international shipping emissions target now.”