NGOs Seas At Risk and Transport and Environment (T&E) have warned that achieving the Paris climate target of limiting global warming to 1.5 / 2°C will be impossible unless Europe and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) ratify measures to curb shipping emissions.

An EU study revealed that shipping could account for 17% of the global emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2050 if the sector is not subjected to strict emissions measures.

According to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), carbon emissions from international maritime shipping could increase by 250% in the period up to 2050 if left unchecked.

Currently, the sector constitutes 3% of global CO2 emissions, which is higher than those of Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, France or the UK.

The IMO is said to have failed to take stock of the shipping industry’s growing contribution to the emission of greenhouse gases on a global level.

IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu had earlier in September 2015 attributed the failure to the rapidly growing world industries which mostly do not comply with the environmental standards.

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By GlobalData

However, measures are being taken to address the issue which is believed to have started with the appointment of a new secretary general to head the IMO.

T&E shipping officer Sotiris Raptis said: "We welcome the new IMO secretary-general, who is coming to office at a key moment following the Paris agreement.

"We are sure Secretary-General Kitack Lim fully understands the need for the IMO to act now.

"That shipping needs to make its fair share of cuts to keep global warming well below two degrees is not negotiable after Paris."

"The EU, in parallel, needs to include shipping in its 2030 reduction commitment now and in the EU ETS or in an EU climate fund from 2021."

During the climate agreement negotiated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Le Bourget, Paris, in December last year, international shipping industry along with the aviation sector was excluded from discussion to introduce measures to tame global warming.

Seas At Risk senior policy advisor John Maggs said: "There is no reasonable excuse to continue exempting the sector from the global and EU climate policies.

"That shipping needs to make its fair share of cuts to keep global warming well below two degrees is not negotiable after Paris."

Image: Shipping emissions: the elephant in the room as the new IMO secretary-general meets with EU Commissioners in Brussels. Photo: courtesy of T&E.