ICS applauds IMO road map for CO2 reduction by International Shipping.

31 October, 16

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has applauded the agreement, last Friday, by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to develop a comprehensive Road Map for addressing CO2 emissions from international shipping – with initial CO2 reduction commitments to be agreed by IMO by 2018.

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.”

However, ICS says the IMO Road Map will go much further than the Paris Agreement.

“The final stage of the Road Map to be enacted by 2023 should establish a global mechanism for ensuring that these IMO CO2 reduction commitments will actually be delivered.” said Peter Hinchliffe.

ICS stresses that the MEPC agreement last week on a mandatory global CO2 data collection system for shipping is also a significant achievement.  This will enable the initial CO2 commitments agreed in 2018 to be further refined using the very latest data on ships’ emissions and transport work which will become fully available from 2019.

Most importantly, says ICS, the IMO data system will inform the development of a mechanism by IMO for ensuring that the CO2 reduction commitments are met.

This will include deciding the extent to which technical and operational measures alone might be insufficient to deliver the IMO CO2 reduction commitments that are initially agreed in 2018.  The sector actually reduced its total CO2 emissions by more than 10% between 2007 and 2012, and projections for future growth in maritime trade demand are now being revised downwards, compared to those used in the most recent 2014 IMO Green House Study.

The IMO Road Map is a significant step forward because it has the agreement of developing nations that are understandably concerned about the possible impact on the cost of their maritime trade of what might finally be decided.

ICS is pleased that the significance of the IMO agreements has already been publically acknowledged by the European Commission.  ICS therefore hopes that every effort will be made by the EU to align its regional regulation on CO2 reporting by ships with that now agreed by all IMO Member States, and that the EU will support the new momentum demonstrated at IMO rather than developing unilateral measures, such as the incorporation of international shipping into the EU Emissions Trading System (which is still being discussed in the European Parliament).

ICS is disappointed that a number of environmentalist NGOs have chosen to immediately criticise the IMO Road Map and by their persistence in encouraging the EU to adopt regional regulation.  CO2 reduction from shipping is a global challenge which can only be solved meaningfully by global agreement not at regional level.


Peter Hinchliffe commented:

“Unfounded criticism of the consensus that governments have achieved, in very difficult political circumstances, serves to polarise the IMO debate, making the support of developing nations for additional global measures even more complicated to achieve.”

ICS believes the initial IMO commitments on behalf of the sector, to be agreed in 2018, should reflect the spirit and ambition of the Paris Agreement but be appropriate to the circumstances that apply to international shipping and its critical role in the movement of global trade.

ICS’s member national shipowners’ associations, which represent over 80% of the world merchant fleet, are currently developing ideas on what an initial IMO CO2 reduction commitment in 2018 might entail.  In co-operation with other international shipowner associations, ICS hopes to come forward with detailed proposals during 2017.

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