London, UK – The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has today adopted a long-overdue plan to reduce climate polluting emissions from the global shipping industry.

The agreement calls for the international shipping industry to reduce its greenhouse gas  emissions by “at least” 50 % by 2050 compared to 2008 levels “whilst pursuing efforts” towards phasing them out in a timeline consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In response, Greenpeace International political advisor Veronica Frank said:

“The plan is far from perfect, but the direction is now clear – a phase out of carbon emissions. This decarbonisation must start now and targets improved along the way, because without concrete, urgent measures to cut emissions from shipping now the Paris ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees will become swiftly out of reach.”

Although the deal lists possible mitigation measures, the lack of an action plan for their development and the tone of discussions at the IMO does not give much confidence that measures will be adopted soon. Greenpeace urges the industry to transform these goals into concrete, urgent steps to decarbonise in full as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest.

Frank added:

“The IMO plan is a first step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to achieve climate stability. The initial deal will be revised in 2023 and reviewed again in 2028, giving opportunities to strengthen the targets.”

Commenting on the IMO’s expected decision to develop plans to ban Heavy Fuel Oil in Arctic shipping, Frank said:

“This is a very welcome step in the right direction. A ban on Heavy Fuels Oils in Arctic waters is the most sensible and effective way of protecting these fragile waters from the nightmare scenario of a spill. As Arctic sea ice retreats and more ships begin charting previously unreachable ocean, a ban cannot come soon enough.”



Veronica Frank, Greenpeace International political advisor, +351 935371683, [email protected], (in London)

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), [email protected]