The ethical arguments for polluters to pay for emissions are well established.
The most recent negotiations in Bali during the UNFCCC COP 13 have also shown the acceptance that developed countries should compensate the developing countries for the harm done. The current increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere is due to the growth and decades of prosperity of developed countries.

The starting point for IMERS was the recognition that mitigation and adaptation are both important, and that the UNFCCC principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities' can be delivered in a novel way for international shipping.
IMERS has therefore been designed to fulfil on the following five principles:

  1. Will contribute fairly to the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC in accordance with its provisions
    • In particular the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities', and take into account social and economic conditions and other relevant factors
  2. Will conform to policies and measures of sustainable development
  3. Equal attention will be paid to mitigation of emissions globally and adaptation to climate change in developing countries
  4. Technology innovation, transformation and transfer will be comprehensive
  5. Will contribute to a shared vision for long-term co-operative action, and will be build around a long-term goal for emission reductions

Note: There is a growing literature on the ethical aspects of climate change, including on the responsibility of governments to tackle the threats and impacts of climate change. One of the web-sites dedicated to the topic is: