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19 Jul 2011: Shipping Industry
Agrees to CO2 Emissions Standards

The shipping industry has become the first global business sector to agree to mandatory carbon dioxide emissions reductions. At a meeting of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, member countries agreed to set CO2 emissions standards on new ships beginning in 2019, with the goal of improving energy efficiency by 30 percent by 2024. The member countries also agreed to more modest efficiency improvements and emissions reductions in the world’s 60,000 exiting ships. Of the world’s top 10 shipping nations, only China voted against the agreement. Brazil, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Chile also opposed the accord, and it remains to be seen if these countries will adhere to the majority decision. The agreement allows developing nations to apply for a waiver from the rules until 2019, and the Clean Shipping Coalition warned that the agreement could result in most new ships registering with countries that get a waiver. Overall, however, environmental advocates said the agreement was a positive step that could reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by 50 million tons by 2020. Shipping accounts for about 3 percent of human CO2 emissions.

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