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IMO Agrees to Develop GHG Reduction Road Map

The 70th session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) reached agreement on the development of a comprehensive Road Map for addressing international shipping’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

However, the regulator has decided that initial CO2 reduction commitments will be agreed by 2018, a move that has been applauded by some and spurned by others. A number of NGOs have particularly slated the lack of timely action. The fact that the IMO has dodged action on more stringent ship design efficiency requirements has also come under fire.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has welcomed, and commended the agreement.

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe, said: “The adoption of the Road Map is a significant decision by IMO Member States that will give further impetus to the substantial CO2 reductions that are already being delivered by technical and operational measures, and the binding global CO2 reduction regulations for shipping adopted by IMO in 2011, four years before the Paris Agreement.”

The ICS front-man has also proclaimed that the IMO Road Map will go much further than the Paris Agreement.

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) also welcomed the progression, albeit with cautious optimism.

“The development of a GHG emissions reduction roadmap to 2023, and the adoption of an initial strategy with short, medium and long-term measures in 2018 is a positive step forwards for the shipping industry,” said Ian Petty, General Manager, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative.

Members of the Clean Shipping Coalition, Transport & Environment (T&E) and Seas at Risk (SAR) have voiced their dismay at what they say is the IMO abandoning a review of ship efficiency targets until 2018 at the earliest. They believe the IMO is turning down an easy opportunity to act on climate change.

Bill Hemmings, shipping director at T&E, said: “Nearly 20 years after being tasked with tackling climate change impacts from shipping, the IMO has enacted only one measure so far, the EEDI, and for new ships only. Yet it now stands in disarray. Improving ship efficiency is a no brainer and a classic example of a ‘win-win’, but apparently the IMO prefers open-ended reviews to concrete action.”

Hand in hand with the Road Map development is the mandatory global CO2 data collection system that was agreed at MEPC 69. This system will enable the initial CO2 commitments agreed in 2018 by the IMO to be further refined based upon actual ship emission data and transport work that will become available from 2019.

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