A Voice for Our Ocean

Statement: IMO Fails to Deliver on Ambitious Climate Action, Most Everything Else

This week the IMO showed us the limits of its ambition by failing to take action for the climate or our ocean.

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On June 17, 2021, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) concluded the 76th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). Ocean Conservancy Shipping Emissions Campaign Manager Dan Hubbell released the following statement in reaction to the meeting:

“This week the IMO showed us the limits of its ambition by failing to take action for the climate or our ocean. It had a rare opportunity to strengthen a short-term climate measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions this decade, act on black carbon pollution, adopt a robust plan for mid-term measures including a carbon levy on CO2, improve a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil and engage in discussions on scrubber discharges. Yet on all these issues what we have is delay or little better, in spite of the best efforts by some 40 countries like Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the United States.

“For the second time the IMO has deferred discussions on scrubbers and black carbon to a later session, costing us a year of action on short-term climate pollutants and a growing source of marine pollution.

“The short-term emissions reduction measure agreed to at MEPC 76 is itself little more than delayed action on climate. By setting an energy efficiency reduction target of just 1.5% a year until 2026, on par with a business as usual trajectory, the IMO has given shipping a clear greenlight to continue polluting for years to come. Only an agreement to add underwater noise to the work plan offered any signs that this meeting had anything to do with ‘environmental protection.’

“The climate crisis cannot wait for the next meeting, and we urge countries to take action on their own to address pollution from shipping today.”


Dan Hubbell is available for interviews upon request.

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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