The Marine Environment Committee agrees to initiate GHG strategy review, recognizing the need for strengthened ambitions, reports IMO.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) in view of the urgency for all sectors to accelerate their efforts to reduce GHG emissions – as emphasized in the recent IPCC reports and the Glasgow Climate Pact – recognized the need to strengthen the ambition of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy during its revision process.
The MEPC has agreed to initiate the revision of its GHG strategy. IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), meeting virtually for its 77th session, 22-26 November 2021, also adopted a resolution on voluntary use of cleaner fuels in the Arctic, to reduce black carbon emissions.
In other work, the MEPC adopted a strategy to address marine plastic litter from ships; adopted revised guidelines for exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) and agreed the scope of work on discharge water of EGCS; and considered matters related to the Ballast Water Management Convention.
Tackling climate change
The MEPC agreed to initiate the revision of the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships, recognizing the need to strengthen the ambition during the revision process. The move comes in the wake of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), held in Glasgow, United Kingdom, (1-12 November) and in view of the urgency for all sectors to accelerate their efforts to reduce GHG emissions.
A final draft Revised IMO GHG Strategy would be considered by MEPC 80 (scheduled to meet in spring 2023), with a view to adoption.
The Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Shipping was adopted in 2018.
The Committee invited interested Member States and international organizations to work together and to submit concrete proposals for a revised IMO GHG Strategy to MEPC 78 (June 2022) for consideration.
Closing the session, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “Strengthening the ambition of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy during its revision will be crucial. Our collective actions must show our dedication to contribute towards the global issue, climate change.”
Discussion of proposals to further reduce GHG emissions from shipping
A number of proposals for further mid-term GHG reduction measures, including market-based measures, to address GHG emissions from shipping, as well as a proposal to establish an International Maritime Research and Development Board, were discussed during the session.
This followed the presentation of a number of proposals in the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG GHG 10).
Following a constructive discussion, the Committee referred the proposals and relevant documents, including associated impact assessments, to the next sessions ISWG-GHG for further assessment in accordance with Phase I of the Organization’s Work plan on the development of mid-term measures.
The terms of reference for the next sessions of the ISWG-GHG were agreed. ISWG-GHG 11 is set to meet 14 to 18 March 2022 and ISWG-GHG 12, 16 to 20 May 2022
Impact assessment of GHG measures
The Initial IMO GHG strategy recognizes the impacts on States of proposed measures that should be assessed and taken into account as appropriate, with particular attention paid to the needs of developing countries, especially small island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs).
The Committee agreed to establish an Ad-hoc Expert Workshop on Impact Assessments to consider concrete proposals for improving the impact assessment procedure and provide recommendations as part of the lessons-learned exercise, the outcome of which will be submitted to ISWG-GHG 11. The workshop is set to be held 8 -9 March 2022.
GHG TC Trust Fund
New pledges were made by Governments to support the work of the Organization in supporting the implementation of the Initial GHG Strategy in developing countries, in particular SIDS and LDCs, through technical cooperation and capacity building through the IMO GHG TC Trust Fund.
These pledges will enhance the Organization’s work on energy efficiency technology cooperation and demonstration ensuring nobody is left behind in implementing the Initial Strategy.
Correspondence Group on Carbon Intensity Reduction
A Correspondence Group on Carbon Intensity Reduction was established, to finalize and update guidelines. These relate, in particular, to the short-term measures adopted in 2021, consisting of technical (EEXI) and operational (CII and its rating) measures. These mandatory rules are expected to enter into force in November 2022, aiming at 40% reduction of carbon intensity by 2030.
Meanwhile, the MEPC approved the MEPC circular on 2021 Guidance on treatment of innovative energy efficiency technologies for calculation and verification of the attained EEDI and EEXI, particularly accommodating the use of wind propulsion as an alternative (complimentary) source of propulsion.
Black carbon in the Arctic – resolution adopted
The MEPC adopted a resolution which urges Member States and ship operators to voluntarily use distillate or other cleaner alternative fuels or methods of propulsion that are safe for ships and could contribute to the reduction of Black Carbon emissions from ships when operating in or near the Arctic.
The resolution encourages Member States to commence addressing the threat to the Arctic from Black Carbon emissions, and report on measures and best practices to reduce Black Carbon emissions from shipping
The Committee further agreed the terms of reference for the PPR Sub-Committee’s future work on reduction of the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping.
Revised Guidelines for exhaust gas cleaning systems adopted
The MEPC adopted 2021 Guidelines for exhaust gas cleaning systems, to update the last version adopted in 2015.
The Committee approved an MEPC circular with updated guidance on indication of ongoing compliance in the case of the failure of a single monitoring instrument, and recommended actions to take if the exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) fails to meet the provisions of the EGCS Guidelines.
Evaluation and harmonization of rules and guidance on the discharge of discharge water from EGCS
The Committee agreed the scope of work for the PPR Sub-Committee relating to evaluation and harmonization of rules and guidance on EGCS discharge water into the aquatic environment, including the conditions and areas for discharge. The work will cover: risk assessment; impact assessment; delivery of EGCS residues; regulatory matters; and developing a database of substances identified in EGCS discharge water.
The PPR Sub-Committee is set to meet for its 9th session in April 2022.
Next MEPC sessions
MEPC 78 has been tentatively scheduled to take place from 6 to 10 June 2022 and MEPC 79 from 12 to 16 December 2022.
If the Committee session will be held in person, the Secretariat will notify delegations at least 90 days prior to the session, depending on the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
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