Interest surrounds the outcome of discussions around greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in shipping as IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) makes its way through an agenda packed with impactful industry issues at its 72nd session in London.
On the second day of MEPC’s week-long session, a handful of protesters held signs urging the group to agree industry targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction in line with the goal of the UN’s 2015 Paris Agreement to keep the global average temperature from rising 2°C over pre-industrial levels.
Media outlets large and small are running stories on the subject, with interested parties taking the chance to present their views on what is best.
An IMO intercessional working group met last week in an attempt to make progress to facilitate the adoption of an initial strategy on reducing GHG emissions, and IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim ‘exhorted’ the group.
“Work together this week, and the adoption of the Initial Strategy next week will be a success for us all. Never before has a meeting generated such great interest – not only within the maritime community but far beyond, as well,” he said.
“Your task will not be easy at times; the stakes are high and the expectations even higher. However, I am confident that, with IMO’s renowned spirit of co-operation and your esteemed wisdom under the able leadership of your chair, Sveinung Oftedal of Norway, you will rise to the challenge, respond to the expectations and, thus, serve well the worthy cause of protecting and preserving the environment.”
By the end of last week, the working group had produced a draft text that compromised on a 50% cut to 2008 emissions levels by 2050; however, the likelihood of this draft being adopted remains uncertain.
As talks continue and work to craft language acceptable to all parties carries on within IMO headquarters this week, opposing camps have reportedly further coalesced into negotiating blocks.
Pacific Island states such as Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu want higher reduction targets, Argentina, Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia are opposed to emissions caps, and European nations are backing a proposal to shrink shipping emissions by 70%-100% of their 2008 levels by 2050.
Also under discussion at MEPC 72 are approval of draft amendments to prohibit carriage of non-compliant fuel oil and adoption of draft amendments to the Ballast Water Management Convention covering the implementation schedule for installing ballast water management systems.
The outcome of IMO work on these issues is expected to be announced by Friday, and Marine Propulsion will report.