IMO adopts greenhouse gas reduction strategy for shipping industry

IMO adopts greenhouse gas reduction strategy for shipping industry
The IMO's Member States meet to agree the initial GHG strategy (Image: IMO)

The United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) have adopted an initial strategy to reduce – and if possible completely phase out – greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by the international shipping sector as soon as possible in this century.

The initial GHG strategy was adopted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), during its 72nd session at IMO Headquarters in London, UK, which was attended by more than 100 IMO Member States.

IMO’s initial strategy sets out the future vision for international shipping, aims for reducing GHG emissions, guiding principles to achieving these goals, and short-, mid- and long-term measures for the future with possible timelines and their impacts on Member States. The strategy also identifies barriers and supportive measures including capacity building, technical cooperation and research and development.

Specifically, the IMO aims to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by implementing further phases of the energy efficiency design index for new ships. It also wants to cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050, and halve total annual GHG emissions by 2050 (all reductions compared to levels measured in 2008). In addition, the plan calls for IMO Member States to pursue efforts towards phasing out carbon dioxide and GHG emissions in a way that is consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.

“I encourage you to continue your work through the newly adopted Initial GHG Strategy which is designed as a platform for future actions,” said Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General. “I am confident in relying on your ability to relentlessly continue your efforts and develop further actions that will soon contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships.”

The MEPC will hold a fourth intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships later this year. This working group will be tasked with developing a programme of follow-up actions to the initial strategy and asked to further consider how to progress reduction of GHG emissions from ships. The group will report findings at the MEPC’s 73rd session, which takes place from 22-26 October 2018. The initial strategy will be revised by 2023.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, April 17, 2018