The Unique Implications of Maritime Law on Climate Change (VIDEO)

In 2019, less than one percent of the 60,000 freighters sailing the oceans used any type of alternative fuel.

Most countries have elected leaders. Some have dictators, others monarchs. It doesn’t matter who rules a country, they all make the laws of the land. But these laws are diminishing offshore.

The first 12 nautical miles off a country’s coast is the territorial sea, and a country has full authority to enforce its laws there. But then it starts to get murky. Over the next 12 nautical miles is the contiguous zone. A country’s rules begin to decline, but it has the right to protect itself.

This is also where we start measuring 200 nautical miles to mark the Exclusive Economic Zone, where a country has the rights to fish and minerals.

Beyond that, it’s a no man’s land. No one owns it, because everyone owns it. And that’s why the United Nations created the International Maritime Organization, or IMO, which is responsible for safety and security on the high seas and the prevention of pollution from ships.

These big cargo ships sailing the oceans are responsible for 90% of world trade and they burn a lot of heavy oil to transport goods around the world.

In 2019, less than one percent of the 60,000 freighters sailing the oceans used any type of alternative fuel.

The IMO is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the shipping industry, which generates as much carbon dioxide each year as all of America’s coal-fired power plants, is working to reduce restrictions. emissions, to block lower shipping speeds and to fight to keep the most polluting ships sailing. .

But the IMO is moving ahead with finalizing its emissions reduction plan by next year.

The new objective: to halve emissions from ships by 2050.

It is not enough. Or fast enough for climate activists who want a zero emissions goal, the implementation of which would cost shipping companies more than two trillion dollars.

Environmental group Ocean Conservancy accuses the IMO of delaying cuts to make the shipping industry happy, saying “the IMO has given the clear green light for shipping to continue polluting for years to come”.

The IMO denies the criticism and says shipping is less damaging to the environment than land transport.