Delegates from the global shipping industry are tackling some awfully big cargo this week: their greenhouse gas emissions. The talks are being overseen by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.
The convention is a last-ditch effort for the IMO to suggest its own proposals before the task gets snatched out of its hands. The industry -- which according to Reuters, accounts for 3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions -- has felt mounting pressure from Europe and America to clean up its act.
The IMO, a part of the United Nations, is responsible for developing a regulatory framework for shipping safety, security, efficiency and environmental issues. But it's been lagging on the environmental front, fearing that reducing emissions will increase rates and damage the world's economy.
However, the European Union isn't willing to wait much longer; the European Commission (the EU's executive branch) has already announced it will take steps to regulate shipping if the IMO doesn't do so itself. Conservation groups from the United States are also pushing for mandatory emissions reductions targets, according to Green Inc.
If so many groups outside of the IMO are pushing for emissions regulations, why is the organization having such trouble getting around to enacting any? Member delegates are apparently split over the fairness of emissions targets. Developing countries feel like they shouldn't be held to the same standard as their richer fellow member states.