Market-based measures under discussion at MEPC

On day three of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting, International Maritime Organization (IMO) member states went forward with the proposals on the table for mid-term measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping with debate going into extra time with no defined results from all the discussions at the virtual summit. A preference was given by a majority of nations to market-based measures and to a fuel standard.

The discussion on market-based measures mainly concerned establishing a carbon levy on shipping emissions, with countries in favour of a carbon levy – in particular or as part of a basket of measures – included the EU27, Canada, Japan, Liberia and Pacific Islands countries.

Countries against a carbon levy were familiar names such as Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Argentina, China and Russia, most of whom also shot down calls for a zero-emissions resolution earlier in the week.

Among proposals discussed was the International Chamber of Shipping’s $5bn decarbonisation R&D fund as well as the the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands plan to set a carbon levy at $100 per tonne of CO2.

A proposal for a low-greenhouse gas fuel standard was put forward by the EU. Countries in favour of a fuel standard included the EU27, Japan and Canada, with countries against including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, South Africa and Russia

The negotiations on mid-term measures will now move to the an intersessional working group, which will meet in 2022.

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.
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