New IMO Proposal on GHG Reductions Triggers Criticism

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WMN…Last week, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) working group presented a draft text containing further measures to cut ship emissions. The text has sparked criticism by various NGOs and maritime organisations and has been described as unambitious and vague.
The remote meeting, which saw the participation of a number of governments around the world, was held from 19 to 23 October 2020.
Specifically, the proposed amendments to the MARPOL convention would require ships to combine a technical and an operational approach to reduce their carbon intensity. This is said to be in line with the ambition of the 2018-adopted initial IMO GHG Strategy, which aims to reduce carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008.
A proposal had been made to the meeting in an attempt to fuse the technical Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) measure with the operational Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) measure. These are in reality Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) limits to existing ships and a rating mechanism to mandate improvements to the operational carbon efficiency of ships.
While the EEXI reduction rates are established and listed in the draft MARPOL amendments to be discussed at next month’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting, the CII rating mechanism still lacks important details such as how should carbon efficiency be measured, and which reduction factors should be used to calculate annual limits for CII for each ship, BIMCO, the world’s largest shipowners association, explained.
“The IMO initial strategy’s ambition to improve carbon efficiency of the fleet by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008 is silent on how carbon efficiency shall be measured. Thus the 2030 ambition may, or may not, result in lower total emissions from the fleet – it all depends on the metric chosen and resulting change in operational behaviour of ships,” BIMCO said.
NGOs: IMO fails to implement its own GHG reduction plan
Although hopes for bold action to reduce shipping GHG emissions were high, the outcome of the recent meeting ended up less positive.
As Transport & Environment (T&E) pointed out, the impact of the new decision “will not cap, let alone reduce, shipping emissions this decade”.
NGOs believe that many countries, in pursuing the new outcome, have actively worked to undermine the Initial Strategy goals of the IMO, and have knowingly broken their Paris Agreement commitment to pursue a 1.5/2ºC compatible emissions reduction.
“We urge all countries to reconsider their support for the J/5 decision ahead of MEPC75 this November 16-20, and reject it, unless it can be fundamentally strengthened,” John Maggs, president of the Clean Shipping Coalition, which has observer status at the talks, said.
“Governments have ridden roughshod over the Paris Agreement by agreeing a measure that will see ship emissions grow for decades to come. The UN maritime agency again showed the world it can only deliver cosmetic changes,” Faig Abbasov, shipping programme director at Transport & Environment, stressed….reports World Maritime News.
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