The International Maritime Organization (IMO) received its mandate to regulate shipping greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Kyoto Protocol. However, the IMO Convention and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea also provide it with competence in this area. In exercising its mandate, the IMO has developed regulatory initiatives. China’s shipping industry is playing a growing role in the international shipping market, and its response to these initiatives will have a substantial effect on the future application of these regulations. This article analyses the GHG mandate of the IMO, examines the main outcomes achieved within the organization on this issue, and assesses the response from China’s shipping industry to this issue. It concludes that the interests of the shipping industries from developing countries will need to be taken into account in the development of regulatory efforts if a consensus is to be achieved in the global reduction of GHG emissions from ships.