Friday, June 11, 2021

As the Global Shipping Delegates Meet to Discuss Greenhouse Gas Watch for Smoke Rising

MEPC 76 Talks May Generate Some Heat
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Whilst the eyes of the mainstream press focus on Cornwall this week and barbecues on the beach at the G7 summit, there is a potentially discordant discussion occurring in London which may have eventually even more effect on the world in which we live.

As the great and the good gathered in Carbis Bay talk over tax proposals and defeating the pandemic, the 76th session of the IMO Marine Environment and Protection Committee (MEPC 76)  began discussions this week on the matter of Greenhouse gases (GHG) and their potential elimination from ocean going vessels.

The hope is that the talks will produce a more tangible result than the unsuccessful conclusion of the Intersessional Working Group (ISWG-GHG 8) in late May which fizzled out without agreement on any consensus as to permissible CO2 emissions by 2030.

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) took a long look at the situation which exists within the International Maritime Organization (IMO) ranks over this matter and came up with the following conclusions which we quote wholesale.

”To achieve the minimum expectation of adopting the package of short-term measures that was conditionally agreed at the previous MEPC session, member states will have to address the disagreements that appeared during the intersessional working group meeting and reach an acceptable compromise agreement on the Carbon Intensity (CI) reduction rates until 2030.

”At the same time, the outcomes of the comprehensive impact assessment of the package of short-term measures on member states is likely to call for solutions on addressing any disproportionate impacts for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in particular, as a precondition for the final adoption of the short-term measures.”

The result of discord between members on this matter is likely to result in a heated discussion with no certainty as to the outcome. It is tricky enough to get the most common sense measures passed quickly by the IMO and the result of these discussions will have very real impacts on the world.

The imposition of the Sulphur Cap only took place after prevarications which typify the IMO discussions, requiring as they always do assent from enough of the diverse members interests to have any motions passed and eventually put in place, sometimes a decade later.

MEPC 76 will also be considering the revised proposal for an International Maritime Research and Development Board. On this point IAPH will be supporting a proposal submitted by a 22 member states, which sets a phased approach until 2023 and beyond for the development of mid- and long-term measures.

Meanwhile the port group will also be watching with interest the reaction of delegations to the proposal by Marshall and Solomon Islands to establish a universal mandatory greenhouse gas levy with an entry level of $100 per tonne of CO2 by 2025 and with upward ratchets on a 5-yearly review cycle.