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LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - The International Maritime Organization (IMO) on Friday agreed stricter energy efficiency targets for certain types of ships in an effort to speed up action to cut the sector's emissions.
The IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee has been meeting in London this week to discuss tougher rules on sulphur emissions and other measures towards meeting a long-term goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050.
The international shipping sector accounts for about 2% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.
Under its Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), the IMO set mandatory targets for new ships on the maximum amount of CO2 emissions allowed for different vessel types and sizes to provide the same amount of transportation.
A draft of the agreement shows that new container ships will now be required to be up to 50% more efficient by 2022, compared with the previous target of up to 30% more efficient by 2025.
New general cargo ships, gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and hybrid diesel-electric cruise ships will also have to be up to 30 percent more efficient by 2022.
"Your work in this session has strengthened the energy efficiency framework," IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim told delegates in London.
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) said the move could reduce CO2 emissions by about 750 million tonnes from 2022 to 2050, equating to around 2% of all emissions from international shipping over that period.
"The IMO's decision to move up and tighten energy efficiency targets for some new ships is a modest but necessary step to combat climate change," said Dan Rutherford, ICCT's marine programme director.
However, some environmental campaigners said the target is already being beaten by some of the most efficient ships being built today and stricter goals should be set.
(Reporting by Nina Chestney Editing by David Goodman)