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UN chief urges maritime nations to chart course for net zero shipping emissions by 2050

LONDON (AP) – The head of the United Nations (UN) called yesterday for maritime nations to agree on a course for the shipping industry to reduce its climate-harming emissions to net zero by the middle of the century at the latest.

The appeal by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres came at the start of a meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London that’s seen as key for helping achieve the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Shipping, which accounts for almost three per cent of global emissions, will be vital,” Guterres said. He urged delegates to agree a new greenhouse gas strategy for shipping that includes “ambitious science-based targets starting in 2030 – both on absolute emissions reductions and the use of clean fuels.”

The IMO’s current target is for the shipping industry to cut its emissions by at least half from 2008 to 2050. Guterres said the new targets should include all greenhouse gas emissions caused by the industry and backed the idea of introducing a carbon price for shipping.

A cargo vessel is assisted by tug boats as it prepares to dock at Subic port in northwestern Philippines. PHOTO: AP