The ship did not sink, but there are still a few holes to plug. On Friday, July 7, 175 country representatives meeting in London for crucial negotiations under the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed to a major strengthening of the sector's decarbonization targets to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century.
But the new ambition, weakened after a tug-of-war between countries, is still insufficient to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.
The maritime sector is the backbone of globalization, a cog in the wheel as essential as it is discreet: It handles over 80% of world trade, thanks to an endless ballet of some 100,000 ships carrying 2.2 billion tonnes of goods annually. Containers, bulk carriers, and tankers tasked with the job run on heavy fuel oil, a cheap but highly polluting energy. As a result, the sector is behind one billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year or 3% of global emissions. This is equivalent to the emissions of Japan, the world's sixth biggest polluter, or the whole of Africa.