Tough discussions at MEPC 63

Consensus elusive as IMO meeting debates key environmental measures

By Michele Witthaus |

A range of contentious environmental measures came under discussion at the recent International Maritime Organization Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 63).

According to a report on the meeting by the International Chamber of Shipping, a working group finalised guidelines on the calculation method for the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships and on the development of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan, as well as on survey and certification and calculation of reference lines for use with the EEDI. The guidelines were adopted by the committee, which also endorsed a revised work plan forecasting the completion of outstanding issues related to the EEDI by July 2013.

The working group also discussed technical cooperation and transfer of technology to combat greenhouse gases (GHGs). A draft resolution developed by the MEPC chairman following MEPC 62 failed to achieve acceptance by developing States. With no alternative resolution presented, the committee convened a working group to further develop the resolution text, with further discussion on the matter scheduled for MEPC 64.

A key IMO debate on GHG market based measure (MBM) proposals opened with prepared statements by Brazil, Chile, China and India, which advocated acknowledgement and incorporation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change principle of common but differentiated responsibility in any discussion on GHG reduction measures. IMO Secretary General Koji Sekimizu said IMO should continue to take the lead in addressing emissions from international shipping and that the next step was to conduct a comprehensive impact assessment and feasibility study of MBM options on economic development and growth in developing countries.

Other discussions at MEPC 63 focused on the need to develop an IMO performance standard for fuel consumption measurement and to re-evaluate and update the 2007 study of shipping GHG emissions. With no resolution attained on this subject, it will also receive further consideration at MEPC 64.

During Secretary General Sekimizu’s closing speech to MEPC 63, he highlighted the importance of representing IMO’s and the shipping industry’s views at the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), due to take place in June 2012.

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