The IMO is scheduled to deliver an Initial Strategy on international shipping GHG emissions reduction by MEPC 72 in April 2018, determining the vision and level of ambition, and including an ‘action plan’ on the development of measures for 2018-2023.

The paper notes there is no agreement on what short-term measures (2018-2023) will be committed to, and when or how they would be implemented. A decarbonisation by 2050 strategy requires clear and significant short-term measures to be adopted if momentum is to be built and a clear decarbonisation pathway be demonstrated. Without this, it is difficult to see how the ambition is given effect, PIDF noted.

The Secretary General of the PIDF, François Martel, said:

This paper recognises that failure by the global community to achieve a strong Initial Strategy will likely mean that future efforts from shipping will be insufficient to ensure the world limit temperature rise to 1.5⁰C. The Pacific has been clear on the need that the world limits temperature rise to 1.5⁰C, as also reflected in the Paris Agreement, and for us to do so all sectors need to do their part, including the Maritime transport sector.

Namely, the paper states that the “available science is clear that a delay in determining and implementing substantive measures until after 2023 makes a 1.5⁰C target largely unattainable. To keep 1.5⁰C alive, the Initial Strategy must include commitment to implementation of adequate short-term measures to demonstrate early IMO/industry commitment to a decarbonisation trajectory.”

The paper also identifies five issues that are particularly relevant to the Pacific:

  1. potential risk of disproportionately increased transport cost;
  2. potential negative implications for transport dependency and security, disaster preparation and response;
  3. ability of States to participate in the IMO Roadmap processes;
  4. ability of States to execute any increase in their international responsibility as flag and port States; and
  5. ability to maximize opportunity for design and implementation of domestic and national aspects of the decarbonisation agenda and to ensure domestic capacity to meet any stepped changes.

The paper was developed with the support of the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transportation (MCST) jointly run by the University of the South Pacific and the Government of Marshall Islands and the University College London.

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