Nations Aim To Zero Out Shipping Emissions by Midcentury

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Regulators reached a provisional deal on how quickly the transition to zero-emissions fuels should happen for cargo ships, which often burn particularly dirty oil, reports The New York Times.

The breakthrough

Negotiators from nearly every country reached a provisional agreement on Thursday to effectively eliminate the shipping industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by as close to 2050 as possible.

The breakthrough was made at an annual meeting in London of the International Maritime Organization, the global shipping regulator. The agreement, which will be formally signed on Friday, also sets goals for emissions reductions to be reached by 2030 and 2040.

According to delegates who were present at the talks, which were closed to reporters, the agreement’s ambitions were tempered by representatives of countries with major economic interests in oil production and maritime trade.

But a strong last-minute push from small island nations and other poorer coastal countries led to commitments from the organization that are in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. That is the threshold most climate scientists say the world must avoid crossing to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

The shipping industry accounts for around 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Ships that transport fuel, ore, grain and containers full of consumer goods typically burn heavy fuel oil, which is more emissions-intensive than most other fossil fuels.

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Source: The New York Times