Shipping Regulators Reach Deal to Cut Carbon Emissions

The shipping industry made a historic step toward cleaner air on Friday with a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050, after a politically charged debate at the industrys global regulator in London.

Shipping and aviation were excluded from the Paris climate agreement adopted under a United Nations framework in 2015, with governments entrusting the International Maritime Organization to come up with a consensus on carbon reduction measures from ocean going vessels.

The aviation sector reached a deal on carbon emissions two years ago, but it took shipping much longer as ocean carriers and regulators considered measures such as the adoption of clean-burning fuels or electric propulsion, slower sailing speeds and hull design improvements at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars.

The deal puts the agreement into force world-wide, with no other action needed by the regulatory body. The final pact was a compromise between groups and countries including the European Union, China, and other Asia and Pacific nations that pushed for reductions in emissions by as much as 70% and the U.S., Argentina, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, among others, that pushed for lower targets.

Of the 173 IMO-member states, only the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, objected to the draft IMO agreement that was circulated late Thursday and seen by The Wall Street Journal. They didnt explain their objections.

The text may not be satisfactory to all but it represents a strong middle ground, said Kitack Lim, the IM....

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