Shipowners call for IMO timeline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has led national shipowner associations in calling on the IMO to develop a timeline against which greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping can be reduced.

The ICS says the IMO should set a GHG reduction a guideline similar to the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) devised by national governments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The timeline would assist the implementation of the IMO’s mandatory CO2 reduction regime, which is already in force worldwide and is applicable to the entire world fleet. Shipping is the only industrial sector that has such a regime in place.

“We wish to see IMO member states adopt a course similar to that agreed by governments in Paris and which reflects the spirit of the Agreement. This will help IMO member states to demonstrate they are serious about building on the real progress already made by the shipping industry to reduce CO2,” said Esben Poulsson, chairman of the ICS.

“Our hope is that this can be done in a way that will also be acceptable to developing nations whose support will be vital if IMO is to continue making progress on a global basis,” he continued.

The Paris Agreement on climate change makes no explicit reference to international transport, but the ICS notes the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol is still in force and makes clear that both the shipping and aviation sectors have a responsibility to reduce their GHG emissions.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) may reach agreement this week on a CO2 reduction plan for the aviation sector.

“Shipping has a very good story to tell. The most recent data from 2014 shows that shipping reduced its total CO2 emissions by over 10% in just five years, despite continuing growth in maritime trade,” Poulsson said.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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