Shipping's Decarbonisation Obligations Need More Legal Weight, Says NGO

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday March 27, 2024

A non-governmental organisation is seeking confirmation from the International Court of Justice that states have legal obligations under international law to tackle climate impacts from international aviation and shipping in accordance with the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C temperature goal.

According to Opportunity Green, "most states do not currently account for the emissions in their national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement. 

"This goes against the very purpose of the Paris Agreement which calls for a global response to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.

"It is a misconception that states should rely solely on specialised United Nations agencies, the International Maritime Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization, to act on international aviation and shipping emissions."

In addition, states have standalone legal obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors.

Opportunity Green said that its submission to the court argues that the efforts of the ICAO and IMO are additional to action under states' individual nationally determined contributions.

"It is not enough for states to leave the decarbonisation of these sectors to these UN bodies."

To date, aviation and shipping have sailed under the radar of negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"The court's advisory opinion represents a unique and vital opportunity to change the direction of travel," the ngo's statement said.