The Tipping Point for Decarbonizing International Shipping

June 22 2023

July is a month that many in the Global North associate with sunny, summer holidays and school vacations with loved ones. While some are busy planning much needed time off, others are gearing up for perhaps the most important climate change meeting of this decade that will irrevocably set a path for the future of international shipping.

Located in the heart of London sits the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations specialized agency tasked with the difficult responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. In less than two weeks, country delegates from around the world will come together for the 80th meeting of the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC 80) to revise the IMO’s initial Greenhouse Gas Strategy (GHG).

This may seem like just another climate meeting with high-level speeches about the need to act on climate change. Rest assured however, this one is different. There are many in the maritime space who are holding their breath, eagerly anticipating the outcome of this meeting that will ripple across the globe. Why is this so important? Simply put, the future of international shipping hangs in the balance.

The revision of the initial GHG Strategy will have significant implications for the industry at large, sending critical market signals on what path international shipping will take as it seeks to decarbonize and address its climate emissions. Lobbyists and negotiators alike have been hard at work in the months prior, submitting proposals and gaining allies to back key positions. This insight brief covers the four key elements that will need to be settled before the revised strategy is adopted at MEPC 80.

Read the full insight brief here.

The views expressed in this Insight are those of the author alone and not necessarily those of the Global Maritime Forum. Excerpts may be published with reference to the Global Maritime Forum.

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