By IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub

13 April 2018: Members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have agreed to an initial strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, including a long-term vision to cut emissions by 50% compared to 2008 levels by 2050.

GHG emissions from international shipping currently contribute an estimated 2.2% of global GHG emissions; however emissions are projected to increase between 50% and 2050% by 2050 to accommodate raising volumes of international trade in goods and resources. Reducing emissions from international shipping is therefore crucial to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. More than 100 of the IMO’s 173 member states met under the organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MPEC) to discuss a package of measures to reduce emissions from international shipping.

Delegates adopted an initial strategy as a “pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.” The strategy states that emissions should peak as soon as possible and that member states commit to “reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely.”

The initial strategy represents a framework containing: the future vision; levels of ambition; guiding principles; and candidate short-, mid-, and long-term further measures including timelines and possible impacts on states. It also addresses potential barriers and measures to overcome them, such as capacity building, technical cooperation and research and development. Delegates also adopted a roadmap for the strategy’s implementation, which states that the strategy will be revised in 2023.

MPEC also adopted several measures that will support implementation of the strategy, including: amendments to a regulation on Energy Efficiency Design Index for passenger and cargo ships relating to the third, and a possible fourth phase of implementing EDDI requirements; and an amendment making data collection on fuel oil consumption of ships mandatory in 2019.

Other items on the meeting’s agenda included the implementation of the sulphur 2020 limit, a best practice guide on fuel oil quality, amendments to the international Ballast Water Management Convention, measures to reduce the risks of carrying heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, marine litter, and a review of the biofouling guidelines.

A major milestone that will accelerate the inevitable decarbonization of global shipping. – UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa welcomed the decision to adopt the initial strategy calling it “a major milestone in addressing climate change. She noted it will “accelerate the inevitable decarbonization of global shipping, which we all need to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.” Other organizations observed that the strategy lacks a detailed plan. John Maggs, President of the Clean Shipping Coalition suggested that “IMO must move swiftly to introduce measures that will cut emissions deeply and quickly in the short term,” to ensure that the objectives of the Paris Agreement can be reached.

The 72nd session of MPEC was held 9-13 April in London, UK. The initial strategy will be further discussed by the fourth Intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships meeting later in 2018 and by the 73rd session of MPEC scheduled for 22-26 October 2018. [IMO Briefing. Initial Strategy] [IMO Meeting Summary. MPEC 72] [UNFCC Press Release] [ClimateAction News Story] [Clean Shipping Coalition News Release] [IMO Briefing. Energy Efficiency in Shipping]

Source:: IISD – International Negotiations

Print Friendly, PDF & Email