Support for IMO CO2 Roadmap - Global Trade Magazine
  November 11th, 2016 | Written by

Support for IMO CO2 Roadmap

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  • Initial CO2 reduction commitments are to be agreed by the IMO by 2018.
  • European Transport Commissioner: “Data collection is an important first step” for shipping's climate efforts.
  • The IMO roadmap will go much further than the Paris Agreement.

Praise from several different quarters greeted the agreement at the end of the recent IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to develop a comprehensive roadmap for addressing CO2 emissions from international shipping.

Under the plan, initial CO2 reduction commitments are to be agreed by International Martime Organization, a UN body, by 2018.

“The adoption of the roadmap is a significant decision by IMO Member States that will give further impetus to the substantial CO2 reductions that are already being delivered by technical and operational measures,” said Peter Hinchliffe, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

Hinchliffe noted that the binding global CO2 reduction regulations for shipping were adopted by the IMO in 2011, four years before the Paris Agreement.

According to European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, the “agreement is a milestone for a cleaner shipping sector.” “Data collection is an important first step,” she added, “and it is very positive that we also started a discussion on a fair contribution of shipping to the climate efforts.”

The IMO roadmap will go much further than the Paris Agreement, according to Hinchliffe. “The final stage of the roadmap to be enacted by 2023 should establish a global mechanism for ensuring that these IMO CO2 reduction commitments will actually be delivered.” he said.

The 2020 global sulphur cap will deliver a dramatic reduction in sulphur emissions by shipping worldwide but it will also have a significant impact on the economics of shipping, according to Hinchliffe. Compliant fuel is expected to cost between 50 percent and 100 percent more than the fuel that most ships currently burn.

“The MEPC agreement to establish a new IMO work stream to consider these important implementation issues is very welcome,” said Hinchliffe.

The clear decision about implementation in 2020 should make it easier for shipowners to consider alternative compliance options such as fitting exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) or using lowsulphur fuels such as LNG. One report states that due to the new IMO global sulphur emissions legislation, there may not be enough marine fuel available by 2020.

ICS has also welcomed the approval of two new NOx (nitrogen oxide) Emission Control Areas to take effect in the North Sea and the Baltic for new ships delivered from January 2021. This is in line with an application by the coastal states, including the Russian Federation.

The European Commission said the IMO now needs to develop guidelines regarding the implementation of the mandatory data collection scheme. Further work is also expected within IMO on the definition of shipping’s ambition in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

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