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School climate strikers demand shipping industry cuts its giant CO2 emissions

The climate school strike movement has gone global, bringing an estimated 1.5 million children and young people onto the streets, demanding their governments act on climate change. This week, their spotlight turns on a new target, the global shipping industry.

With other members of the UK Student Climate Network, Noga Levy-Rapoport is a core organiser of monthly climate strikes which have brought tens of thousands of young people onto the streets of the UK demanding climate action.

They were inspired by Swedish 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg, and the movement she founded, #FridaysforFuture.

Noga Levy-Rapoport:
“The message from young people is that we must listen to scientists and act now. We can’t afford delays. That includes the shipping industry and it includes aviation. Delegates at the IMO have a responsibility to represent their countries’ futures, not just corporations concerned about short-term profits.”

Shipping currently accounts for approximately 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than every country outside the the top five emitters. If the sector is not cleaned up experts predict this figure could rise to 20% of total emissions by 2050.

At the April 2018 IMO conference (MEPC72) – prior to the IPCC 1.5 report – delegates agreed to cut GHG emissions by “at least 50%” by 2050, but so far have not agreed on measures to achieve this.

Shipping is not directly accounted for in the Paris Agreement of 2015. However the UK’s Committee on Climate Change last week recommended the UK include international shipping in its carbon budgets.

The recent IPCC report on limiting global warming to 1.5C warned that this would only be possible with immediate action within 5-10 years, cutting emissions by 45% by 2030.

The shipping industry must also massively invest in and develop technologies for zero carbon vessels, powered by renewable Electrofuels. But at this stage in the climate crisis we don’t have time to wait. If the IMO agrees this month to introduce global speed limits on shipping, this could cut emissions substantially with no delay.

Climate school strikes so far have happened in 2,000 cities across more than 100 countries. These include countries that have so far attempted to block climate action at IMO, including the US, Panama, and Brazil.
Source: UK Student Climate Network

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