Tuesday, November 19, 2019

IMO Meets to Discuss the Future Targets for Vessel Emissions

Decisions Delayed on Mandatory Regulations
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – The meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London last week, criticised in advance in some sections of the media, to discuss how the global shipping industry can reduce or eliminate harmful emissions, has agreed that setting goals is the best way to decarbonise in the short-term.

Nothing the IMO ever decides is managed quickly, the fact that so many nations are involved always means there are dissenting voices, or at least some reluctant to change the status quo. However in a few weeks the mandatory sulphur cap will come into force and is a sign that the IMO recognises the world is changing.

Eventually, after extensive discussions, it became clear that the assembly had no appetite for prescriptive speed reduction regulation and that a mandatory goal-based approach will provide the needed flexibility and incentive for continued innovation across the industry and will be the best way to reduce emissions.

Two methods, in line with the industry’s proposal, were recognised: a technical and an operational approach. It was agreed that the two approaches would be further refined, and their implementation and enforcement would also be developed at the next meeting in London next year. Commenting on the agreement, UK Chamber of Shipping Policy Director Anna Ziou said:

“The UK Chamber of Shipping has been clear that tackling climate change and reducing emissions is a top priority for us and we welcome the positive outcome of this meeting. The progress made sets the right direction of travel and is a good foundation for the IMO’s work to put the strategy into action.

"However, there is still a lot to be done and we encourage all parties to show at the next meeting the same level of cooperation and come forward with constructive ideas to make sure that we deliver the ambitions of the IMO Green House Gas strategy.”

The next meeting, due to take place 23-27 March 2020 in London will also include discussions on some of the difficult questions on how to measure a ship’s efficiency accurately, establish a representative 2008 baseline and reflect the strategy’s targets to individual ships.