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G7 countries target global net-zero shipping by 2050

25 April 2023
The G7 group comprises representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. Credit: Ministry of the Environment, Japan

Seven of the world’s biggest economies have reaffirmed their commitment to more stringent emission targets for international shipping. The G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment on April 15-16 noted the group’s common aim of working towards an IMO greenhouse gas (GHG) target of net-zero emissions by 2050, with new intermediate targets in 2030 and 2040.

The statement from the G7 group – comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – comes less than two months before the critical MEPC 80 meeting at which a new IMO emissions reduction ambition and strategy will be decided. Following the introduction of short-term measures at the beginning of this year (including the Carbon Intensity Indicator and the Energy Efficiency Index for Existing Ships) discussions will also continue on mid-term measures.

The group added:We commit to work for the development and adoption of mid-term measures by 2025, consisting of regulatory signals and incentives to accelerate the transformation of shipping, such as the introduction of zero-emission ships in the early stage, while recognising the importance of a just and equitable transition that leaves no one behind.”

Elsewhere in the communiqué, the group outlined commitments to continue working towards the adoption of the new UN treaty on the Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), scheduled to take place on June 19-20. The BBNJ treaty will include the establishment of protected areas to improve conservation of marine biodiversity, as well as greater scrutiny of ocean industries including shipping, fishing and aquaculture.

Commitments were also made to further clamp down on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Agreement on Port State Measures, which aims to prevent IUU vessels from entering ports and landing their catches. Another pledge targeted marine plastic litter through existing G7 and G20 action plans, as well as IMO’s efforts to reduce abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear.