The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) in early December published a summary of a package of measures taken at MEPC 75 to control GHG emissions from shipping that would be applicable to the bunker industry:
The 75th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee was heavily dominated by discussion about the adequacy of steps to deliver greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies. The outcomes were a compromise, which inevitably means that few were completely satisfied.
A package of measures (see point 2 below) that was up for approval at MEPC 75 had already been discussed at length in October during an intersessional GHG meeting, where many member states criticised it for being too weak, but reluctantly accepted it as the best compromise possible at this time, largely thanks to a review clause to assess how effective the measures have been. The review should be completed by 2026.
One of the elements that makes agreement so hard to reach is concern about the impact on states from any measures adopted by the IMO, in particular on developing and remote countries whose economies and trade opportunities, as well as imports of essential goods, depend heavily on international shipping. All measures are required to undergo an impact assessment.
The measures that were adopted and agreed at MEPC 75 are in line with the IMO’s initial greenhouse gas strategy. The first step is to identify and implement short term measures to meet the first stated ambition, which is to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work as an average across international shipping by 40% by 2030 compared to a 2008 baseline.
This will not in itself guarantee that overall CO2 emissions from shipping fall as the initial steps are aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of ships. If global trade and transport of goods grows by more than 40% to 2030, CO2 emission from shipping could also grow even if the 40% carbon intensity reduction target is met.
The initial short-term, goal-based measures to reach the 2030 ambition include tightening existing mandatory energy efficiency measures, and introducing new mandatory technical and operational efficiency measures.
Below is a summary of steps taken at MEPC 75 to control GHG emissions from shipping:
While nobody objected to the need for R&D to identify and develop technologies and fuels that will be needed to get shipping towards the IMO’s stated ambition of cutting CO2 emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050, there were many concerns and questions about the proposal. Many commented that it was not sufficiently clear about legal structure, the collection of funds, and the management and allocation of funds. There were reservations about the IMO mandating a fee for a fund not directly under the IMO’s control. The need to assess the impact on states was also raised. Several pointed out the need to avoid duplication of other R&D efforts which are already well underway, both in the private sector and elsewhere.
In summary, there was no definitive yes or no to the IMRB/IMRF proposal, only an invitation for interested parties to submit papers to MEPC 76 to comment on it in more detail, noting the concerns raised at MEPC 75, or submit alternative proposals.
Photo credit and source: IBIA
Published: 11 December, 2020
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