The Clean Shipping Coalition on Friday (26 November) released a statement regarding the outcome of IMO’s MEPC 77 session:
The outcome of the climate talks at the UN’s shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is yet another blow to any efforts to start reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ocean shipping, and to align the sector with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.
Even though most of the 175 IMO member states have publicly supported the need for zero emissions of carbon neutral shipping by 2050 (compared to the current target of only halving emissions by 2050) there was not majority support at MEPC77 to adopt the Pacific Islands resolution along these lines – with Brazil, Russia, China, and others opposing the proposal and the EU27, Norway preferring instead to raise ambition only when the initial GHG Strategy is reviewed in two years’ time.
The proposal came only two weeks after the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, which saw broad support for urgent decarbonisation of the sector. Science is clear: governments must urgently act to halve shipping emissions by 2030 to keep the 1.5° safe warming limit within reach.
We welcome the support of more countries for a “zero emissions” by 2050 goal, versus a smaller group of countries in favour of “net zero” by 2050 (MEPC 77/J/5/Rev.2, paragraph 7.4). This confirms the approach of the Initial Strategy, that false solutions like “carbon offsets” are not accepted at IMO, and that the goal is firmly in-sector decarbonisation.
John Maggs, Clean Shipping Coalition, said: “Ambition at the IMO has again been held hostage by a small group of countries hell bent on rendering the organisation impotent on the most pressing issue of our age. There was a clear and substantial majority in the room for greater climate ambition but Russia, Saudi Arabia and others ensured that the IMO again failed to move the dial on ship climate action. With every delay the scale of the task gets greater, and ship emissions must halve by 2030 if we are to save 1.5 degrees.”
Faig Abbasov, Transport & Environment, said: “When it comes to mandatory measures on green shipping fuels, the can has been kicked down the road to 2022 without any commitment to speed up their adoption. IMO negotiations are like a soap-opera. Whenever you think that the momentum for action is ripe, you then realise that there are still many seasons before a final decision is taken.”
Lucy Gilliam, Seas at Risk, said: “Those stopping action on climate at IMO are also stopping the organization from dealing with many other important environmental issues. The blockers have caused dangerous delays to almost every item on the agenda. After 2 years of deferrals, the urgent topic of plastic pollution from shipping was given barely an hour for discussion with every item deferred to the following year. The problem here is a systemic one.”
The IMO’s 77th Marine Protection Committee session (MEPC77) met virtually and in person on November 22-26 to discuss the revision of the current greenhouse gas target for 2050 to align with the Paris Agreement’s goals as well as mid-term measures to reduce emissions.
Key facts on shipping:
Related: INTERCARGO supports IMO’s MEPC 77 shipping decarbonisation goals by 2050
Related: INTERCARGO: Global challenges require global solutions to achieve zero-emission shipping by 2050
Related: Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association: MEPC 77 needs to deliver concrete actions
Related: IBIA: ECGS guidelines and discharge policy on MEPC 77 agenda
Related: IBIA: MEPC 77 to discuss mandatory flashpoint on the BDN
Related: MEPC 77: Governments to decide on ICS USD 5 billion R&D fund to accelerate decarbonisation goals
Related: MEPC 77: IMO must rapidly cut emissions of black carbon from shipping, says Clean Arctic Alliance
Related: IMO schedules remote session of Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 77)
Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 29 November, 2021
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