Reducing shipping industry's carbon emissions is 'major progress'

Reducing shipping industry's carbon emissions is 'major progress'

"The initial strategy agreed by MEPC 72 is the first of its kind, not only because it goes well beyond the Paris Agreement with the introduction of quantitative targets, but also because, in doing so, shipping becomes the first industry to adopt such concrete global goals for the reduction of its total GHG emissions". The initial strategy will be revised by 2023.

The initial strategy was adopted by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee during its 72nd session, a meeting attended by more than 100 IMO member states.

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.

"This is a ground-breaking agreement - a Paris Agreement for shipping", said Peter Hinchliffe, ICS Secretary General. The strategy also identifies barriers and supportive measures including capacity building, technical cooperation and research and development.

"I encourage you to continue your work through the newly adopted Initial GHG Strategy which is designed as a platform for future actions", said Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General. This working group will be tasked with developing follow-up actions to the Initial strategy, further considering how to progress reduction of GHG emissions in order to advise the committee and reporting to the next MEPC session, which meets October 22-26.

The outcome has been largely welcomed by industry organisations.

But Mr Hinchcliffe from ICS warned that the IMO strategy is highly ambitious given current projections for trade growth as the world's population and levels of prosperity continue to increase.

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Discussions at IMO will now begin in earnest on the development of additional Carbon dioxide reduction measures, including those to be implemented before 2023.

The IMO has agreed to hold a fourth inter-sessional meeting of its working group on reducing GHGs later in the year.

Nations meeting at the International Maritime Organization adopted an initial strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, with the goal of phasing them out as soon as possible. A 50% reduction in emissions is a substantial target, especially considering the complex decision-making process at the IMO.

"While such changes are massive for a global industry, which has a fleet of over 50,000 ships trading internationally, United Kingdom led research has shown that with the correct level of investment and better regulation, these reductions can be achieved".

"The move will send a signal through the industry that rapid innovation is now needed". Many small ships already run on hydrogen and electricity. "New designs for vessels will be more streamlined and engines will have to be cleaner, maybe powered by hydrogen or batteries, or even by the wind".

Despite a largely positive reception to the deal, the USA remains cynical about the demand to reduce emissions by such a lofty figure.

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