Call for Engine Power Limitations As Slow Steaming Achieves 2030 Emission Target!


Global Shipping is making fine progress towards making a carbon-neutral future and with much of its immediate target being met, they are preparing for the long haul with new enhanced targets, reports Climate Change News.

Scaling up Goals

International shipping could scale up goals for decarbonization in the coming years since the sector’s climate target for 2030 was already three-quarters met when it was set two years ago, a study showed.

A study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), an independent research group, found that CO2 intensity of international shipping had already been reduced by 30% from 2008 levels in 2018.

Slow Steaming Helped

That year, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) set a 40% reduction target by 2030.

The paper’s authors suggested widespread “slow-steaming” – a practice that reduces ship’s operational speed and fuel use by not using the engine at full power – was behind the drop in CO2 intensity.

Overcapacity in ship transport supply has caused ship speed to drop by 20% between 2008 and 2015, according to the ICCT.

More Stringent Measures

“This suggests that the 2030 goal may be tightened when International Maritime Organisation (IMO) revises the strategy in 2023,” the report noted.

Dan Rutherford, the ICCT’s programme director for marine and aviation and one of the study’s authors, told Climate Home News the findings pointed “to the need for the IMO to adapt a more stringent 2030 target”.

Ship Speed Likely To Rebound?

The report added that ship speeds could rebound by 2030, depending on factors such as the state of global trade, oil prices and freight rates.

The findings were submitted to the IMO on Monday ahead of a round of talks at the end of March.

Backdrop of this

  • In 2018, the shipping sector committed to reduce its emissions by at least 50% from 2008 levels by 2050, with efforts to curb carbon intensity of international shipping by 70% by 2050.
  • International shipping accounts for 2-3% of global emissions but, like aviation, the sector’s emissions are not covered by the Paris Agreement.
  • Projections by CE Delft for the IMO found that shipping emissions could increase up to 120% by 2050 and, under a business as usual scenario, the sector could account for 10% of global emissions by mid-century.

IMO’s Final CO2 Agenda

The IMO is working to finalize measures to support its CO2 intensity reduction goals this year.

  • Proposals include submissions backed by France and Greece for a speed limit on tankers and bulk carriers.
  • Norway and Japan have also proposed plans that would allow companies to decide how to meet energy efficiency targets by using cleaner fuel or more efficient vessels.
  • Among Japan’s proposals is a plan to fit ships with engine power limitation devices to indirectly reduce speed and fuel use.
  • Japan is the world’s third largest ship-owning country and an influential voice inside the IMO.
  • Hideaki Saito, of Japan, chairs the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) – the committee which deals with climate change and emissions reduction issues.

Engine Power Limitations Holds the Key

The ICCT study aimed to assess the effectiveness of using engine power limitation to reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions. It concluded that mandatory engine power limitations measures “will not directly reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions” because ships are already operating slower than the proposal’s implied limit.

Engine power limitations measures “would need to be aggressive in order to contribute to the IMO’s climate goals,” the report said.

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Source: Climate Change News


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