European politicians have let it be known they will take their own course of action regarding shipping emissions if member states of the International Maritime Organization attending this week’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) fail to agree on a substantive and swift cut.
In an open letter from the members of the European Parliament’s delegation to the IMO, the signatories warned: “It is essential that shipping decarbonise and be subject to climate regulation; preferably by the IMO but otherwise through other means.”
The European Union has repeatedly warned the IMO must deliver a substantial package of emission cuts at this week’s MEPC or face the threat of regional regulation.
“We don’t want to do things if IMO is taking responsible action, but we are willing to go further if necessary,” said Jytte Guteland, a Swedish member of the European parliament (MEP), at a press briefing in London yesterday.
“The EU is willing to take concrete steps. We don’t wish it; we want to have global action. But from the meetings we’ve had until now, there are high ambition countries, and lower ambition countries. Our red line is the Paris Agreement,” Dubravka Suica, a Croat MEP, said at the same briefing.
Bas Eickhout, a Dutch MEP, said that what he had seen during the first two days at MEPC had disappointed him.
“What is on the table is the bare minimum, and it’s not good enough. The target is insufficient, and there are no short-term actions at all,” Eickhout said, adding the credibility of the IMO was now at stake.
The intersessional working group that met last week at IMO’s headquarters has produced a draft text that calls for a 50% emissions cut by 2050.
However, the EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and transport commissioner Violeta Bulc have written to ministers of IMO member states asking them to support a tougher target of 70 to 100%, a position strongly endorsed by an array of Pacific island states.
The IMO said today the discussion of the report of the working group on GHG will be on Friday, with the time yet to be confirmed. Debate is likely to carry on late into the night on Friday.