Last week’s Intersessional Working Group (ISWG) on Greenhouse Gases (GHG) ISWG-GHG ahead of June’s gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) showed genuine progress on pricing greenhouse gas emissions.
Delegates moved forward with a basket of measures that contains both technical – a fuel standard – and market-based measures such as a carbon levy. Delegates from the UK, New Zealand and the Bahamas spoke for the first time in favour of a carbon pricing measure at the IMO. The meeting concluded that there was now consensus to price GHG emissions at IMO. This is a major development – the concept of market-based measures has been on the table at IMO for more than a decade and often debated with large disagreements between member states.
There was also general support for any of these future measures to be set on a well-to-wake basis.
Aoife O’Leary, from the NGO Opportunity Green, commented: “It has been a long time coming, but there can finally be no doubt the IMO will put a carbon price on international shipping. But with our window of opportunity to act on climate change closing fast, as shown by the latest IPCC report, countries must move to June’s MEPC 78 negotiations with a sense of ambition, equity and urgency. Any carbon price agreed at the IMO must be high enough to transition the sector to zero-emission fuels in line with the Paris Agreement, while providing crucial support to developing, climate-vulnerable countries.”
Last week also saw the European Parliament press ahead with its own plans to include shipping within the bloc’s emission trading scheme.