Global shipping regulator IMO tightens the net on CO2 emissions

The International Maritime Organisation has revised its plans set in 2018 to reduce shipping-related emissions, introducing stronger objectives that will kickstart the transition to a net-zero future.  

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations agency responsible for regulating shipping worldwide, has announced a major leap forward in its plans to become a net-zero industry by 2050.  

The recently related 2023 version is a revision to the 2018 plans, which had agreed to cut the industry’s carbon footprint by 50% by the middle of this century.  

Now, the goal has been set to slash emissions by at least 20% – and ideally 30% – by 20230. The goal for 2040 is a minimum reduction of 70%, and hopefully an 80% decrease. The start line is based on figures produced in 2008.  

The revision makes for a huge shift in policy, as well as a show of good faith in the importance the agency is placing on tackling climate change.  

There are also ambitions to achieve an uptick of between five and 10% in the use of zero or near-zero emission technologies, fuels and energy sources by 2030, kickstarting the overall transition as well as creating incentives for the industry to make investments in eco-friendly choices.  


The new agreement has also led to a consensus on the necessity of adopting regulations on reducing marine fuel’s emission “intensity”, as well as a greenhouse gas pricing mechanism based on an impact assessment. 

Emissions from shipping represent around 3% of the world’s totals, and though not a huge number, are significant in the overall environmental picture.  

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