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IMO adopts strategy to cut shipping emissions

IMO adopts strategy to cut shipping emissions”

The plan adopted by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) during its 72nd session at the organization's headquarters in London on April 13, includes a specific reference to "a pathway of Carbon dioxide emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals".

The GloMEEP Project aims at supporting the uptake and implementation of energy efficiency measures for shipping, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.

Envoys of 173 countries agreed to reduce emissions at least 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said the adoption of the strategy was another successful illustration of the renowned IMO spirit of cooperation and would allow future IMO work on climate change to be rooted in a solid basis.

Under the Paris deal, which does not directly include shipping and aviation, countries committed to keeping temperature rises to "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to curb them at 1.5C.

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.

James Mitchell, maritime finance lead with Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room, commented: "A 50% reduction in total GHG emissions was not the truly ambitious, Paris-aligned target we had hoped for but it is a truly significant first step on the path to decarbonization and there is much to congratulate". "While it may not be enough to give my country the certainty it wanted, it makes it clear that worldwide shipping will now urgently reduce emissions and play its part in giving my country a pathway to survival".

Reviews would take into account updated emission estimates, emissions reduction options for global shipping, and the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "The IMO has done something no one has done before: set an absolute target for emission reductions for an entire industry". It falls well short of some of the lofty ambitions Pacific countries and others held going into discussions. The Marshall Islands, at the conference's opening, warned failure to achieve deep cuts would threaten the country's survival as global warming intensifies.

Europe's transport commissioner Violeta Bulc and climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said in a joint statement while the European Union had "sought a higher level of ambition, this is a good starting point that will allow for further review and improvements over time".

The Marshall Islands' environment minister, David Paul, said that "to get to this point has been hard, very hard".

The mandatory data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships, which entered into force in March 2018, will provide robust data and information on which future decisions on additional measures, over and above those already adopted, can be made.

Clearly, other large shipping nations didn't agree.

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

Bill Hemmings, shipping director, Transport & Environment, said: "The IMO should and could have gone a lot further but for the dogmatic opposition of some countries led by Brazil, Panama, Saudi Arabia". After the deal was signed with a clear majority, the head of the United States delegation to the talks, Jeffrey Lantz, continued to state his country's opposition.

In any case, IMO's contribution to the global efforts to address climate change features prominently in organisation's strategic plan.

It also said its final strategy should be subject to a review in 2028. "There are many steps to come".

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