Plea to cut carbon emissions from shipping industry

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Minister Stanley Sofu

Solomon Islands Minister for Infrastructure Development, Hon. Stanley Festus Sofu joins other global leaders in London this week to negotiate and finalise the International Maritime Organisation’s Initial Strategy for the Reduction of Green-House Gas (GHG) emissions from international ships.

The negotiations are taking place at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC-72) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) meeting in London.

Speaking at the international gathering this week, Mr Sofu said Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island countries are at the forefront of the challenges climate change brings.

“Whilst we may be affected more than others right now, climate change, if not tackled urgently, will cause major challenges to all of us and all countries will suffer,” he said.

Mr Sofu focused his comments on some of the concerns raised by other delegations to try to allay their fears of taking decisive and ambitious action, particularly, the science and the evidence of the effects of climate change.

“We have heard that some believe that there is not yet sufficient evidence to enable us to set concrete ambitious quantifiable targets for decarbonisation now and that we should delay but we are certain that this is not the case,” he said.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th assessment report notes with high confidence that without additional mitigation efforts warming by 2100 will lead to severe, widespread and irreversible impacts globally and whilst mitigation may involve some risks, these risks do not have the severe, widespread and irreversible impacts of climate change and delays limit options and increase the long-term costs.

Whilst the IPCC report on 1.5 degrees is not due until later this year, the background data and analysis is already in the public arena and is clear.

“We MUST decarbonise all sectors and we MUST start international shipping on that pathway to zero greenhouse gas emissions urgently and before 2023,” Mr Sofu said.

Sofu further noted that the consequences of failing to begin decarbonisation and not take action in the next five to ten years will have major consequences for all.

This means including the levels of ambition that keep open the possibility of achieving the 1.5 degree temperature goal, and that means an absolute target of 100% reduction by 2050 and decisive action in the short term that starts the industry on the path is necessary.

Minister Sofu warned that Solomon Islands will be forced to disassociate itself from any strategy that does not provide the target.

Minister Sofu is being accompanied by the Solomon Islands Ambassador to the EU, Moses Kouni Mose, Jimmy Nuake, Under Secretary Technical (MID) and Trevor Unusu, Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

He is expected back in the country this weekend.

-Government Communication Unit