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IMO Sec-Gen Lim warns ‘failure not an option’ at MEPC meeting

Photo: IMO Flickr MEPC73-IMO-Sec-Gen-Lim.jpg
Kitack Lim at MEPC 73
As the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) MEPC 76 meeting started on Thursday Secretary-General Kitack Lim a blunt message on the need to adopt draft short-term measures on emissions.

Held virtually the Marine Environment Protection (MEPC) meeting is seen as a key tipping point for the IMO to remain in charge of regulating emissions from shipping globally or be overtaken by regional and unilateral regulations from states unhappy with the pace of action on climate issues by the UN body governing the industry.

“The stakes are high, adoption of short-term measures at this session is crucial to our ability to deliver on the commitments we have made in our initial strategy,” Lim said in his opening remarks.

“Let me be blunt, failure is not an option, as if we fail in our quest, it is not unreasonable to conclude that we run the risk of having unilateral or multilateral initiatives,” he warned.

Lim said the short-term measures agreed last year had introduced important new concepts such as carbon intensity, a rating system and strengthening of the SEEMP into our global framework. The measures agree to cut carbon intensity from ships by at least 40% by 2030.

The measures include energy efficiency existing ship index (EEXI) and the carbon intensity indicator (CII) to measure efficiency and carbon intensity, which come in to force in January 2023.

On an industry proposal to establish a $5bn for R&D into decarbonisation for the industry Lim said: “We will also see discussion of revised proposals from Member States and industry for the establishment of an International Maritime Research Board and Fund (IMRB), as well as proposals for a GHG workplan to structure discussions on mid- and long-term candidate measures in future sessions.”

Even if the MEPC does adopt the draft measures in their current form regional and unilateral regulations on emissions from shipping will still loom large from a growing number of countries that simply feel the IMO measures do not go far enough. This raises the spectre of a patch work of global regulations for shipowners and managers to comply with depending on trading areas in which their vessels operate.