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Climate change is a challenge

Climate change is a challenge
IMO secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos has stressed the need for IMO to take action on greenhouse gases.

IMO secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos has stressed the need for IMO to take action on greenhouse gases.

IMO secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos has stressed the need for IMO to take action on greenhouse gases. Speaking at the start of this meeting of IMO's Sub-Committee on Fire Protection he noted that the theme for this year"s World Maritime Day is ?Climate change: a challenge for IMO too!. He said the theme was chosen by IMO's Council to give the organisation the opportunity to focus on an urgent issue of global dimensions.

He said: ?I sincerely hope that the theme will galvanize intense action within IMO and the international maritime community throughout the year so that the contribution we will be able to make to the Conference scheduled to be held in Copenhagen in December to produce a new treaty instrument to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the appropriate one, commensurate with our degree of care, concern and sensitivity about the environment ? both marine and atmospheric.?

He added: ?In acknowledging that climate change is a challenge for IMO too, we must seek an outcome as successful as the one we achieved last year when agreeing, unanimously, a series of drastic measures to further reduce the emission of air pollutants from ships. This time round, our endeavours should aim at adding IMO"s contribution to the world efforts to address the phenomena of climate change and global warming and thus demonstrate, once again, our undiminished determination to respond to our environmental responsibilities decisively, effectively and expeditiously. I am confident that your Sub-Committee will not shy away from adding, from its own perspective, any contribution needed to help stem those worrying phenomena.?

Turning to safety issues he said: ?Environmental concerns apart, I sincerely hope that, this year, we will see a distinct improvement in the safety record of shipping and a substantial decline in the number and impact of marine casualties, which, last year, rose to an unacceptably high level. Except for cases of force majeure, the loss of lives at sea can hardly be justified nowadays and, therefore, even in the serious financial crisis and economic downturn the world is going through at the moment, any attempt to adhere to safety standards lower than the highest practicable ones IMO adopts should not be an option for anyone, just as the financial crisis should not be any excuse to slow down progress in the global efforts to stem climate change and global warming. Compromising safety ? by, for example, deferring essential maintenance work or the replacement of faulty or obsolete equipment or by postponing training for officers and crew ? may have catastrophic consequences, both for human lives and the marine environment, while dealing, at the same time, a strong blow to the image of the industry from which it will need great efforts and a long time to recover.?


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