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Spotlight on MEPC 59

Spotlight on MEPC 59

London: This week's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting in London could well turn out to be the most important such meeting ever held. Coming a few months ahead of the crucial Copenhagen meeting on climate change in December, the IMO will be debating measures to prove that shipping is doing its bit to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Observers are warning that if its own initiatives are not considered adequate, the shipping industry could find itself with no choice, mandated to meet certain emissions targets like it or not.

Specifically, MEPC 59 will be discussing an Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships, designed to be a catalyst for energy-efficient design innovation.  Ship Energy Management Plans will also be under discussion' for new and existing ships, this initiative is aimed at encouraging the best ways of improving fuel efficiency in the course of daily operation. A key feature of this is the Energy Efficiency Operational Index which should provide ship operators with a measure to gauge their ship's energy performance. Market-based instruments, designed to speed the emissions-reducing process, are also on the agenda. These include the possibility of an emissions trading scheme, as well as an international fund requiring contributions based on bunkers consumed. 

The IMO's Greenhouse Gas Study 2009, thought to be the most comprehensive analysis of shipping's emissions performance so far, estimates that international shipping accounted for 2.7% of global man-made CO2 emissions in 2007. But this could rise by 150-250% by 2050 unless steps are taken to improve emissions performance.  [13/07/09]