Ships at sea

No consensus on IMO CO2 reduction plan for shipping

IMO’s plan to legislate a 40 per cent reduction in maritime CO2 emissions within ten years has resulted in a mixed response from shipping organisations. The environmental movement, on the other hand, has sharply criticised the plan and favours the EU Green Deal approach.

An important working group within the IMO, a UN agency, has agreed to a proposal to reach legally binding commitments. The draft text will now go to the organisation’s Environment Committee, which will meet in the second half of November. It is expected that parties will adopt the working group’s recommendations.

Industry organisation BIMCO, which claims to represent about two thirds of the world fleet, has reservations. ‘Important elements are still missing, which makes it impossible to assess the impact. It is unclear how carbon efficiency is to be measured. Whether or not the 2030 ambition will be achieved depends entirely on the chosen yardstick and its impact on ships,’ the organisation says.

Urgent

Director John Butler of the liner lobby group World Shipping Council is cautiously optimistic: ‘It is easy to criticise the outcome, but the alternative could be a long-term failure on climate change. We need to keep up this hard work, but the task is urgent and we need to go further and faster. As long as our fuel options are carbon-based, greenhouse gas reductions will be limited. Efficiency is important, but it does not solve the problem,’ he notes.

Programme Director for Shipping Faig Abbasov of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, an umbrella organisation of environmental organisations, has nothing good to say about the proposal. He says that the IMO ‘has once again shown the world that the organisation can only bring about cosmetic changes’. Abbasov believes that EU countries should work through the European Green Deal to close that gap.

This article first appeared in Dutch on Nieuwsblad Transport, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.