MCST researcher Atina Schutz makes the case for an equitable transition at Second IMO Symposium on alternative low- and zero- carbon fuels

The 2nd IMO symposium on low- and zero-carbon fuels for shipping was held on 21 October at IMO’s London headquarters with the theme "Ensuring a just and inclusive transition towards low-carbon shipping". The event brought together more than 1,500 participants from Member States, IGOs, NGOs and the public. The needs of, and opportunities for, developing countries in the process of energy transition towards low/zero-carbon alternative fuels for shipping were a particular topic of discussion.

The particular challenges facing Small Islands Developing States were made plain in an impassioned and forthright presentation by Atina Schutz, a student researcher at the Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport. Ms Schutz was addressing the Symposium from the Marshall Islands which, she reminded the audience, stands less than two metres above sea level and are the most vulnerable to climate change.

"I am in my early 20s, the generation that may pay the true cost of fossil fuels." She went on, "Time is not our friend...We have no choice; we must act decisively now. The investment opportunities for a responsible industry are enormous", she said, calling upon IMO to provide certainty of speed and trajectory of change using existing principles enshrined in international law to ensure an equitable transition.