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Progress seen on IMO GHG strategy at MEPC 79 meeting

Photo: IMO kitacklim.jpg
Progress was seen being made on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) strategy by the IMO but still more work needs to be done to meet the ambitions of the industry.

Last week saw the keenly watched first in-person meeting of the IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC 79) in some three years.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said in his closing remarks for the MEPC 79 meeting: “With regard to greenhouse gas emissions, you considered the outcome of the thirteenth session of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 13), and I note and welcome the progress made on these matters. It cannot be stressed enough how crucial it is that we keep the momentum and deliver an ambitious and fair, revised IMO GHG Strategy at MEPC 80 next year.”

In a brief on MEPC 79 classification society ABS said: “Member States extensively discussed the revision of ambition levels of the Initial Strategy towards decarbonization of shipping. The 2030 and 2050 revised targets are still being discussed, along with additional intermediate checkpoint leading up to 2050.”

The revised strategy expected to be adopted at MEPC 80 in July 2023 is expected to include further enhancements to energy efficiency and carbon intensity indexes. “Looking at the key area of ambition in reduction of GHG the brief said: Many delegations insisted on raising the ambitions of existing check points of 2030 and 2050 along with introducing additional ambitions for 2040.”

These included that by 2030 carbon intensity from shipping is reduced by at least 40 – 60% over 2008 levels. By 2040 Energy used by international shipping to comprise at least 50-75% of zero or near- zero emissions on a Well-to-Wake lifecycle assessment basis. By 2050 aim for a carbon neutral fleet energy used by international shipping comprising at least 90% alternative fuels.

Following the meeting the World Shipping Council WSC said that the week’s discussions bode well for an agreement on an ambitious and effective basket of measures in future sessions of the MEPC.

John Butler, President & CEO of WSC commented: “Discussions surrounding IMO’s GHG Strategy show promise. There is a growing base of support in the Committee to proceed with development of a GHG levy as well as development of a GHG Fuel Standard. Significant differences remain to be resolved on the use of tank-to-wake and well-to-wake GHG factors and the use of funds, but there is a growing sense of agreement on the principal mechanisms that are critical to addressing the GHG challenge at the global level.”

IMO Sec-Gen Lim stated: “We cannot take our foot off the accelerator, at this moment in time, the cooperation and dialogue that is the trademark of IMO, and not least this Committee, will be more important than ever in delivering on what is expected of us to address climate change, but also biodiversity loss and marine pollution.”