SAIL MED at COP21 - "Paris Agreement"

COP21: 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference - Paris, November 30 - December 11

At COP21 in Paris, SAIL MED urged member states to move beyond harmful maritime emissions with a mandate to adopt wind energy (sail technology) and advance clean shipping. 

Global shipping is now recognized as a major source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other pollution that must be addressed immediately in order to meet climate targets.  Due to the lack of stringent pollution requirements and the poor quality of fuel burned (known as marine "bunker"), ships are the most polluting source per metric ton of fuel consumed, now accounting for more than 27 % of all global NOx emissions, 10 % of all SO, emissions, over 2 % of all CO2 emissions [1].  Ship emissions have risen 85 % since 1990, almost 50 % since 1997 alone, and are projected to rise a further 50-250% by 2050, even under the current International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulatory framework [2].

Sail Med's proposed language on Shipping for the UNFCCC Agreement was widely shared and tweeted. The final Paris Agreement unfortunately did not bring shipping into the Agreement; responsibility for action remains with the IMO under the Kyoto Protocol. However, this means that responsible action is needed at the IMO level and with industry stakeholders and forward thinkers. Numerous side meetings and other events at COP21 made it clear that shipping must be part of the solution for a responsible future that sail away from harmful fossil fuel dependency.

While contributing to global climate change, ocean warming, ocean acidification, and eutrophication, these emissions pose an even more direct and immediate threat to human health.  Over seventy precent of all ship-based emissions occur within 248 nautical miles of land [3].  This means that ship emissions influence coastal and harbor air quality, soil, rivers, and lakes.  Given that nearly 80% of the world's population lives within 100 km of the coast [4], ship emissions are everyone's problem.   In Denmark alone, 1,000 people die prematurely each year due to shipping emisions [5].  The UNFCCC and IMO must address shipping emissions contributing to climate change and stop needless deaths and pollution caused by marine bunker fuels.  

The shipping sector has failed to incorporate wind energy (sail power) with little justification.


SAIL MED presented at a booth partnered with the organization ECOLISE in the civil society area at Le Bourget for the duration of COP21. Our stand was located in Space "B".  See here for more information on the civil society area at COP21:

We also participated in the programming at Place 2 B near Gare du Nord.

If you would like to set up a meeting to discuss sail transport, please contact us!

Contact us and contribute to our efforts in Paris at COP21.



[1]  International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ocean-Going Ships: Impacts, Mitigation Options and Opportunities for Managing Growth, Executive Summary at 4 (March 2007) The executive summary can be found at: Final Web.pdf

[2]  Third IMO GHG Study 2014- Final Report

[3] ICCT 2007 (Id. 2)