Kitack Lim hits out at EU plans to reduce shipping emissions

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has written to senior European officials expressing his concern that including shipping in the European Union’s Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) could undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping on a global basis.

In a letter to Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission and Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, Lim acknowledged that the EU had an ambitious policy for addressing emissions and recognised that member states might wish to enhance the progress made to date. However, he cautioned against extending thet EU-ETS to include ships.

Lim said, “I am concerned that a final decision to extend the EU-ETS to shipping emissions would not only be premature but would seriously impact on the work of IMO to address GHG emissions from international shipping. Inclusion of emissions from ships in the EU-ETS significantly risks undermining efforts on a global level.”

The letter follows an agreement on 16 December 2016 by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee that emissions from ships should be included in the (EU-ETS) from 2023, if IMO does not deliver a further global measure to reduce GHG emissions for international shipping by 2021.

While IMO last October won backing to get a sulphur emissions cut in place, its efforts to get greenhouse gas emissions cut from shipping have proved extremely lengthy with progress frustrated by many key shipping nations.

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. Unbelievable!
    The IMO has done nothing on CO2 reduction , and when the EU steps up and does it them selves , the IMO says they are undermining their efforts!
    This is the height of hypocrisy.
    Instead of criticizing the IMO chief , should get off hiscass,and actually do something. THAT will come as a new and novel idea to the slowest moving organization on the face of the earth.
    After all they did not win the Fossil award at COP 21 in Paris for nothing.

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