UK government teams up with Marshall Islands to heap pressure on IMO states over GHGs

Two nations call on IMO members to reduce GHGs in the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

UK shipping minister Nusrat Ghani (right) meets with David Paul (left), environment minister from the Marshall Islands, on April 11, 2018. Image credit: UK Department for Transport

Updated on 12 Apr 2018 00:03 GMT

The UK government has teamed up with leading shipping nation the Marshall Islands to push International Maritime Organization (IMO) members to reach a deal as quickly as possible to reduce the industry's emissions.

Shipping minister Nusrat Ghani met the Republic of the Marshall Islands' environment minister David Paul on Wednesday ahead of the conclusion of IMO talks to set a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) later this week.

Both countries are calling for the IMO to play its full part in global efforts to reduce GHGs in the spirit of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Ghani said: "No other sector unites the world like maritime. We all rely on ships to transport our food, fuel and goods across the globe to our homes.

"This week is a crucial opportunity to secure the future sustainability of shipping by agreeing to cut greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible.

"We know that when the maritime sector comes together to address environmental matters we can achieve a great deal. Along with the Marshall Islands, we want all IMO members to come together in the final days and demonstrate that shipping will not be left behind in helping protect the planet."

David Paul, the Minister-in-Assistance to the President and Environment Minister of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, earlier this week told the Opening Plenary at the 72nd session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) that "the moment of truth has come for the IMO" in terms of regulating GHGs.

And on Wednesday, he remarked: "During our long seafaring histories, our two countries have seen many positive transformations in the maritime sector. The transition to net zero emissions is a massive economic opportunity waiting to be seized, and as the OECD has told us, the technology already exists to support this.

"While we the Marshall Islands have been encouraged by progress this week, we are still a long way from a deal that is consistent with the Paris Agreement. This is unacceptable. The industry has asked for certainty and we need to provide it.

"We will continue to work together with the High Ambition Coalition and our partners in the crucial days ahead to secure the strongest possible outcome. We have a chance to do the climate deal of the year."

IMO talks are expected to conclude on Friday.

The UK's Department for Transport has also published a call for evidence for Maritime 2050 - a strategy to help deliver a green revolution for the country's shipping and position the UK as a world leader in green maritime technology.