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Breaking Stories

MEPC78 GHG negotiations. Pacific stands steady on high ambition at IMO. Equitable Transition, Polluter Pays Principle and Highest Possible Ambition remain on the table.

The 78th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee at IMO in London concluded on Friday with growing consensus for a basket of measures, including the RMI/Solomon Islands GHG levy proposal, and increased ambition of at least 100% reduction in GHG emission targets by no later than 2050. Almost without exception, all delegations referenced the Pacific call for an Equitable Transition – one that leaves no state behind.

An intensifying negotiation timeline until MEPC80 in July 2023 has been set with three Inter-Sessional working groups confirmed and we are now planning to have full Pacific high ambition representation at all these face to face meetings over the next 12 months.

MEPC80 is the deadline for agreeing the Revised Strategy that will guide shipping’s decarbonisation agenda for the foreseeable future. At stake now is the disbursement of revenues, potentially trillions of dollars over the next 25 years, and how much will come to resourcing the adaptation and loss and damage needs of the climate vulnerable and how much will be spent subsidizing in-sector industry transition.

A disciplined and well-coordinated Pacific high ambition coalition continued to hold firm on the lines of 1.5 throughout MEPC78, ensuring the overarching concepts of Equitable Transition, Highest Possible Ambition and the Polluter Pays Principles are well embedded in the negotiating agenda.

For a summary of MEPC78 outcomes, please see this analysis from our colleagues at UMAS.


Pacific High ambition comes out strongly insisting the decarbonising of the shipping sector equitably. At the IMO there are currently 6 Market Based Measures proposals to be discussed this week for MEPC78. Our Pacific high ambition coalition continues to benchmark the RMI/Sol $100 tonne levy which the World Bank values at over $1.6 US Trillion which underscores the need for equitable transition and that none is left behind.

Ambassador Ishoda’s Informal Virtual Presentation Session on proposals for mid-term measures.

Click here to read the press release - Pacific High Ambition calls for ET on MBM.

In a defining submission ahead of IMO's crunch 12th Inter-Sessional Working Group on GHG emissions in May, the sponsors call for the massive revenues that will result from a GHG price on shipping, to finance an equitable transition that leaves no country behind.

The Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, the most climate vulnerable nations on earth, are spearheading a drive to raise ambition at the International Maritime Organisation and ensure the resulting shift to non-emitting technologies and fuel benefits all. In 2020, RMI and the Solomon Islands proposed a GHG levy with an entry level price of $100 GHG-equivalent. Since then, other coalitions have proposed other market-based measures, including different levies and variations of emission trading schemes.

There is now general agreement a strong carbon price and market signal is essential if shipping is to rise to the 1.5-degree challenge.  At ISWG-12 in May, member states will finally begin to seriously negotiate the future shipping market-based measure. For it to have any value in keeping global warming below a 1.5-degree temperature threshold, the measure will need to send an unequivocal signal that shipping is decarbonising now and will be fully GHG free by no later than 2050.  If the market does not respond adequately, a command measure, such as a stringent fuel standard, will be also be required. Anything less is simply playing around the edges of what is needed to save the climate vulnerable countries from the current existential threat.

The scale of the market-based measure now needed will generate greater revenues than is currently required by the shipping sector to decarbonise. The World Bank is conservatively estimating that the revenues generated could be in the order of $60 billion p.a. initially.  This submission from the Pacific calls for an "Equitable Transition" to be the basis for determining the allocation of such revenues among IMO member states.

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Global maritime transport plays a crucial role in facilitating global trade and fostering economic development around the world. At the same time, shipping represents a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Of which, these GHG emissions are expected to grow further under a business-as-usual scenario. In April 2018, the International Maritime Organization officially committed itself to at least halve GHG emissions from ships by 2050 from 2008 levels. Today, more and more maritime stakeholders are calling for full decarbonization by mid-century. This ambitious transition toward zero-carbon shipping can only be achieved effectively and equitably with stringent policy intervention. This webinar will take a deeper look into the prospects of market-based measures to enable and accelerate shipping’s decarbonization. It will set a particular focus on the revenue-raising potential of carbon pricing and the strategic use of carbon revenues for the benefit of an equitable energy transition in the shipping sector and beyond.