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Russia won marginal concessions – but lost its main argument – last week over an international agreement to cut pollution from ships. The IMO signed a 2008 agreement that from 2016 new ships serving North America ports must cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%. Russia argued for a five-year delay – denied, much to the relief of California’s ports which are bound by regulation. But the IMO’s environmental committee did agree to apply the rule only in emissions-control zones 200 nautical miles from shore.

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