IMO sec-gen takes Europe to task on uniltateral emissions regulation plan

IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim has written to top officials in Europe warning that the decision to include shipping in the European Union’s Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) could “seriously impact” the UN body’s work to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the industry globally.

In the letter addressed to - Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Donald Tusk President of the European Council – Lim cautioned against including ships in the EU-ETS.

“I am concerned that a final decision to extend the EU-ETS to shipping emissions would not only be premature but would seriously impact on the work of IMO to address GHG emissions from international shipping. Inclusion of emissions from ships in the EU-ETS significantly risks undermining efforts on a global level," Lim said in the letter.

In December the European Parliament Environment Committee voted to include shipping in the EU-ETS by 2023 if there is no global agreement under IMO for operation by 2021.

In October last year the IMO adopted mandatory, global system, for collecting data on ships’ fuel-oil consumption part of a three step approach to decide if further measures were necessary to reduce GHG emissions. It also has a “roadmap” for developing a comprehensive strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, with a view to being adopted in 2018.

Lim noted these measures had been agreed by member states of the IMO, including EU member states, and said they demonstrated both the UN body’s leadership and role and also the only body that can achieve the necessary political cooperation of all governments.

“Such political cooperation is important to ensure that all countries act together to ensure that no one is left behind,” he said in the letter.

The IMO has long campaigned against unilateral regulation by individual states or regional groupings.

Lim said that, in his view, unilateral or regional action that conflicts with or undermines actions that have been carefully considered and deliberated by the global community at IMO threatens world-wide confidence in the consistent, uniform system of regulation developed by IMO.

Shipowner representative bodies such as the European Community Shipowners Association (ESCA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the Danish Shipowners Association (DSA) have all warned against the inclusion of shipping in the EU-ETS.

But not all parts of the industry are in agreement and the Port of Rotterdam described the IMO’s plans on GHG as “not challenging enough” and called on the European Parliament to put pressure on the IMO.

Posted 09 January 2017

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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