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Deeply Divided, IMO Prepares For Showdown Over Shipping’s CO2 Targets

International Maritime Organization (IMO) delegates have arrived in London ahead of next week’s meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), with the stage set for a fight over how to reduce the shipping industry’s carbon emissions.

A working group has held private meetings this week to prepare a draft strategy that the MEPC will discuss in an open session next week.

Various countries’ delegations have made a wide range of proposals, ranging from no outright cap on carbon emissions to a 100% drop by 2035.

All European Union member states have signed up to a proposal for a 70-100% cut in shipping’s carbon emissions from 2008’s levels by 2050.

They argue anything less than this would threaten the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

Shipping’s levels of carbon emissions in 2008 were estimated in a 2014 IMO study on greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile a separate group of nine countries including Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India have proposed that there should be no outright cap on shipping sector emissions.

Japan has argued for a 50% cut by 2060, and the Marshall Islands have called for a 100% cut by 2035.

A source said the eventual draft strategy taken to next week’s MEPC meeting may suggest a compromise position of a 50% cut from 2008’s levels by 2050.

The EU has previously threatened to impose stricter standards at the European level if it is not satisfied with the global agreement reached by the IMO.

It has previously said it will include shipping in its emissions trading scheme if the IMO does not have a plan in place on greenhouse gas emissions by 2023.

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