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Maritime countries agree first ever shipping emissions regulation

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from international shipping. The global agreement by 55 of the world's biggest sea faring nations will force all ships over 400 tonnes built after 2013 to improve their efficiency by 10%, rising to 20% between 2020 and 2024 and 30% for ships delivered after 2024. The new regulations are expected to result in greenhouse gas emission reductions of 45-50m tonnes a year by 2020. However China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa have secured a six and a half year delay for new ships registered in developing countries. Shipping accounts for 3-4% percent of man-made CO2 emissions worldwide and this figure is expected to rise to 6% by 2020. The European Commission has also announced in a July 2011 press release proposals to tighten up shipping regulations, in particular ship fuel sulphur regulations. Its proposed legislation would revise the Directive on the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels and incorporate new IMO standards into EU law. Under the proposals, the maximum permissible sulphur content of maritime fuels used in sensitive areas such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel will fall from the previous level of 1.5 % to 0.1 %, as of 1 January 2015. Other areas are to achieve an even bigger cut, from 4.5 % down to 0.5 % by 1 January 2020.

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