Shipping has its decarbonisation orders

GHG working group at IMO sets reduction targets for shipping, and agreed with standing applause

A historic IMO environment meeting has ended with a result. It is not the one many likely wanted, but certainly is what many expected, and approved with standing applause from member state delegations.


The important thing is that there are now targets for shipping to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, 2040 and 2050. It has achieved that goal, and the percentages are not as low at first glance as one thought could have been settled on given the reluctance by some countries to initially compromise.


A heavily attended working group at the IMO’s MEPC, has passed a revised strategy to the main plenary meeting for acceptance including the levels of ambition, and this is where the fine detail that will be of interest to the shipping industry is important.


The carbon intensity of international shipping to decline with the CO2 emissions (note this is not greenhouse gases) to go down as an average across international shipping by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 2008, while the uptake of zero of near-zero GHG emission technologies fuels and energy sources to represent at least 5% (striving for 2030) of the energy used by international shipping by 2030.


Then there’s the paragraph about the 2050. Target which has raised a few eyebrows with its vagueness.


“To peak GHG emission from international shipping as soon as possible and to reach net zero GHG emissions by or around, i.e. close to 2050, taking into account different national circumstances…..”


There are also the indicative checkpoints, for 2030 and 2040 which are to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 20%, striving for 30%, by 2030 (compared to 2008) and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 70%, striving for 80%


Included int the report are agreements on how to perform the impact assessment of the economic measures, so that one, or a blended of some elements of them, can be agreed on by a meeting of the MEPC in autumn 2024 and then adoption in 2025, and importantly entry into force in 2027.


Meanwhile the IMO strategy will be reviewed every five years.

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