A meeting of the U.N.’s maritime agency has reached an agreement to cut the shipping industry’s emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The International Maritime Organization said the strategy agreed Friday envisions cutting total annual emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared with 2008. It foresees “pursuing efforts toward phasing them out entirely.”

Environmental activists say that while shipping contributes only 2-3 percent of global greenhouse gases, the industry’s efforts are essential to combating climate change.

European Union members and other countries wanted a 70 percent to 100 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2050. They cited a study which found alternative fuels, wind-assisted ships and electric engines could replace shipping fuels without endangering global trade.

Over 100 countries attended this week’s IMO meeting in London.

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