International shipping

Tracking Clean Energy Progress

🕐 Last updated Wednesday, 23 May 2018

More efforts needed

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted in April 2018 an agreement that aims to reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared with a 2008 baseline. The agreement also includes carbon intensity reduction targets for 2030 and 2050. As the first global climate framework for shipping, this is an historical milestone to facilitate the transition of international shipping towards clean energy and increased sustainability.


CO2 emissions from international shipping

The IMO initial strategy set an ambitious emission reduction target for 2050.

	International marine bunkers	   IMO target
2000	489.63	
2001	464.18	
2002	481.01	
2003	489.65	
2004	539.37	
2005	558.81	
2006	595.93	
2007	631.10	
2008	633.97	
2009	601.79	
2010	649.25	
2011	653.77	
2012	591.09	
2013	598.56	
2014	615.96	
2015	641.97	
2050		316.99
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In April 2018, the IMO adopted the initial strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from shipping (the “Initial Strategy”, for short), a historic agreement that aims to bring the sector in line with the ambition of the Paris Agreement climate goals.

The strategy includes a target to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by at least 40% by 2030 compared with 2008, and to pursue efforts to reduce emissions intensity by 70% by 2050.

It further aims to cut absolute GHG reductions by at least 50% by 2050, and thereafter to pursue efforts to phase them out altogether.

Currently, the only IMO regulation in place to address GHG emissions from ships is the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), an efficiency standard for new ships. This mandate requires an annual energy efficiency improvement of the fleet of only 1% on average between 2015 and 2025.


Tracking progress

The new climate strategy will have far-reaching consequences for the sector, requiring the very rapid adoption of efficient technologies and fuel switching, at a much faster pace than has been achieved to date.

Nevertheless, while the Initial Strategy includes a list of candidate short-, mid- and long-term measures, the EEDI is the only emissions regulation currently in place. Swift implementation and rapid scale up of new measures, including a strengthened EEDI, an operational efficiency standard, a low-carbon fuel mandate or standard and a carbon pricing mechanism are essential to decarbonise shipping.