Nations meeting at the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London have adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, setting out a vision to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and phase them out, as soon as possible in this century.
The vision confirms IMO’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions due to international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, to phase them out as soon as possible.
More specifically, under the identified “levels of ambition”, the initial strategy envisages for the first time a reduction in total GHG emissions from international shipping which, it says, should peak as soon as possible and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050, when compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely.
The first strategic step
The strategy has a specific reference to “a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals”.
The initial strategy was adopted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), during its 72nd session at IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The meeting was attended by more than 100 IMO Member States.
The initial strategy represents a framework for Member States, setting out the future vision for international shipping, the levels of ambition to reduce GHG emissions and guiding principles; and includes candidate short-, mid- and long-term further measures with possible timelines and their impacts on States. The strategy also identifies barriers and supportive measures including capacity building, technical cooperation and research and development (R&D).
According to the “Roadmap” approved by IMO Member States in 2016, the initial strategy is due to be revised by 2023.
Maintaining the momentum
The Committee agreed to hold the fourth Intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships later in the year. This working group will be tasked with developing a programme of follow-up actions to the Initial Strategy; further considering how to progress reduction of GHG emissions from ships in order to advise the committee; and reporting to the next session of the MEPC (MEPC 73), which meets 22-26 October 2018.
IMO has already adopted global mandatory measures to address the reduction in GHG emissions from ships. IMO is about to execute a global technical cooperation project and support the capacity of States, particularly developing States to implement and support energy efficiency in the shipping sector.
IMO outline initial strategy
The Initial Strategy identifies levels of ambition for the international shipping sector noting that technological innovation and the global introduction of alternative fuels and/or energy sources for international shipping will be integral to achieve the overall ambition. Reviews should take into account updated emission estimates, emissions reduction options for international shipping, and the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ). Levels of ambition directing the Initial Strategy are as follows:
1. Carbon intensity of the ship to decline through implementation of further phases of the energy efficiency design index (EEDI) for new ships
IMO looks to review and strengthen the energy efficiency design requirements for ships with the percentage improvement for each phase to be determined for each ship type, as appropriate;
2. Declining carbon intensity of international shipping
IMO aims to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050, compared to 2008; and
3. Decline in GHG emissions from international shipping to increase
IMO urges to reduce the GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible thereby achieving an annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, whilst pursuing efforts towards to completely phase them out as per their vision, and also as a point on a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction which will be consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.
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