Industry associations, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Bimco, Intercargo, Intertanko and European shipowner body Ecsa, are 'broadly satisfied' with the progress made at the critical, October 23 / 27, Imo meeting which continued the development of a comprehensive CO2 reduction strategy for the international shipping sector. However, the NGOs are not so pleased.


In a joint comment ICS, Bimco, Intercargo and Intertanko said they "are encouraged the ambitious proposals from the shipping industry regarding CO2 reduction objectives for the sector as a whole remain on the table, along with similar proposals from several Imo member states."

The associations remain confident Imo members will finalise a comprehensive CO2 reduction strategy for international shipping, at the next meeting of Imo's Marine Environment Protection Committee in April 2018 that will fully match the ambition of the Paris Agreement on climate change. They will continue working with all Imo members and environmental NGOs to help achieve this shared objective.

Shipping organisations proposed three objectives be adopted as part of Imo strategy. Objective 1 – maintain international shipping's annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels; Objective 2 – reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008; and Objective 3 – reduce international shipping's total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction.

Ecsa believes progress was made last week. “In particular, we are pleased the European Commission and EU member states were aligned and made a great effort in trying to bridge the different views and offered solutions among the global Imo members during their intersessional meeting,” said Martin Dorsman, Ecsa’s secretary general. He said European shipowners are confident Imo will be able to deliver an ambitious strategy for adoption at the April MEPC meeting. Ecsa also noted many shipping companies have already taken steps towards more environmental and sustainable shipping.

Prior to last week's meeting Imo was accused of being dictated to by prominent shipping organisations aggressively lobbying to obstruct action on climate change. This drew a strong reaction from the organisations, as well as from Imo's secretary general, Kitack Lim, who refuted shipowners have a louder voice within his organisation than environmentalists. Lim said neither the Imo Convention, nor any of the Rules of Procedure, limit the make-up of delegations in any way.

Referring to the meeting, Kim said: "Indeed, Imo's efforts to reduce harmful air emissions from ships spans decades, and continues with the second meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. Fifty-seven Imo member states and 21 NGOs in consultative status are participating in this meeting."

However, John Maggs, senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk and president of the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC), said: “Can a strategy that doesn’t prioritise emissions reductions in the next six years be considered ‘comprehensive’ or indeed fit for the urgent purpose of tackling the climate crisis? We don’t think so. The Imo meeting heard that ship greenhouse gas emissions are rising again and need to peak soon, but key flag states and developing countries blocked an agreement to prioritise and develop measures for immediate short-term emission reductions.” The CSC presented a study to the meeting which showed limiting ship speed could, by 2030, see CO2 emission reductions of up to 33% from the three main ship types: containers, tankers and bulk carriers. This would result in a global in-sector saving of around 200m tonnes of CO2 annually.

Bill Hemmings, shipping director at Transport & Environment, said: “Operational speed reduction is the only measure on the table that can deliver the substantial and immediate short-term emissions reductions that the Paris agreement demands."

Filed: 2017-10-30