In 2014, RMI requested assistance from USP on the nexus between UNFCCC and the IMO in regard GHG emissions and reduction targets. Being profoundly impacted by the effects of climate change RMI was concerned that international shipping pays its "fair share" in emissions reduction.
Because RMI is the second largest of the open registries (national registries that make their flag available to non-native ship owners) they have significant influence at the IMO.
With technical support from USP and research partner UCL, RMI (represented by Tony De Brum) sponsored a submission to IMO’s Maritime Environmental Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 68) supported by Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands, calling for IMO to set a clear target for reducing international shipping emissions ahead of the Paris COP21. Being highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change (e.g. sea level rise, change in weather patterns, increased frequency and severity of storms), the PICs demanded decisive mitigation action with high moral authority.
IMO rejected this call in MEPC 68. However, the PICs’ persistence led to the forging of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) in Paris in December 2015, which eventually resulted in the adoption of the objective to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
Since then several other PICs (Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu) have joined with RMI and other concerned IMO member countries in the debate within IMO, pushing for urgent action to reduce GHG emissions from ships consistent with the Paris Agreement and "1.5oC to stay alive".
At MEPC 70 IMO agreed on a Roadmap staged through to 2018 to agree an initial strategy on GHG emissions reduction from international shipping. This initial strategy will then be revised and further developed with a final IMO GHG Strategy to be adopted in 2023.Today, the Shipping High Ambition Coalition (SHAC)m now including Pacific, European and other states and industry representatives remains actively engaged. The High-Level Policy Unit of MCST continues to provide technical backstopping and coordination of Pacific SHAC members, in partnership with UCL and PIDF.
The IMO website has lots of useful information on the work being done on making shipping more sustainable, including resources for the general public as well as IMO members. Some key links are: