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IMO progress on GHG emissions too slow to save many Pacific Island nations

IMO progress on GHG emissions too slow to save many Pacific Island nations
The Pacific Islands have described progress on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the IMO as “alarmingly slow” and too slow to save many island nations.

Last week’s meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) which failed to see a definitive framework put in place on limiting shipping’s GHG emissions with the debate now set to continue at the next meeting of the MEPC in October.

A statement issued on Friday by the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) it noted that while leaders of 175 countries queued to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change – COP21 – in New York on Earth Day the world had “failed to be so progressive in London” at the IMO.

“While progress is being made in the IMO, it is at an alarmingly slow rate…too slow to save many Pacific nations,” said the statement from the PIDF.

The statement noted that France had joined Fiji and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) for a progressive approach. “We must put together a plan and timeframe for GHG reduction. Or be judged as impotent,” it quoted France as telling the IMO.

On the Cook Islands surprising opposition to control of shipping emissions PIDF’s secretary general François Martel said: “Knowing the position of the Cook Islands on climate change and their strong engagement at COP21 in Paris, both in the negotiations and at side-events, this appears a contradiction – as if their representatives in London were disconnected from the climate negotiations and the Paris Agreement.”

PIDF noted the repeated support at the MEPC meeting of IMO’s commitment and contribution to the Paris Agreement and the UN body being the place to debate shipping’s role in this. “But they were seemingly oblivious to the contradiction this posed with the position taken by several states to indefinitely delay further debate of GHG.”

Looking ahead to the next IMO MEPC meeting in October the PIDF said: “It is essential that shipping determine its fair share of the climate change burden and act now. It is essential the Pacific find a united voice on this matter. We must be stronger than cyclone Winston.

“Three months after Paris, IMO failed the first test. In October will come its opportunity to pass the re-sit - while the world is watching.”