ICS urges governments to compromise ahead of MEPC 72

Ahead of next week’s important 72nd gathering of the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London, top shipowning bodies are getting their messages across.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) stressed today that governments must compromise to help IMO agree an ambitious strategy for the further reduction of CO2 emissions by shipping that will match the expectations of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Governments on all sides of the debate are going to need to show far more willingness to compromise on their current positions or put at risk an agreement on a meaningful strategy. This would greatly undermine the authority of IMO and the future sustainability of the shipping industry,” said ICS chairman, Esben Poulsson.

“Agreement upon a mid-century objective for the total reduction of CO2 emissions by the sector, regardless of trade growth, will be vital to discourage unilateral action and to provide the signal needed to stimulate the development of zero CO2 fuels,” Poulsson added. “But the very high level of ambition proposed by certain EU Member States – a 70 to 100% total cut in emissions before 2050 – is unlikely to achieve consensus support.”

The Greek president of the European Community of Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) Panos Laskaridis also issued a release today, stating: “With the IMO MEPC 72 meeting fast approaching, the European shipowners reiterate their strongest possible commitment to the development, within the time schedule agreed in the Roadmap, of an ambitious and realistic IMO strategy on GHG, including CO2 emissions reductions from shipping as a whole and urges Member States to work diligently towards this goal.”

ICS’s Poulsson said his organisation did not fully agree with all the details carried in alternative proposals made by China and Japan merit, however it was worth giving both of them serious consideration as they could form the basis of a possible compromise.

“China in particular seems to have made a real effort to move away from its previous opposition to establishing CO2 reduction goals for the sector’s total emissions. If EU nations want a global agreement they should acknowledge this by similarly modifying their own positions,” Poulsson said.

Splash will be reporting extensively from MEPC 72 next week.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. An interesting gambit from ICS. And totally ignores that at Paris in 2015 the world’s nations already agreed a global temperature goal – well below 2 degrees while pursuing efforts for 1.5. The already made compromise offer of 70-100% by 2050 for shipping gives the small island states of the Pacific a 50/50 chance of survival. I think that any sane person would agree that is already an extremely generous compromise. 1.5 to Stay Alive.

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