[Update] IMO CO2 Plan Blocked, but Emissions Monitoring Approved


Published Apr 22, 2016 3:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

The IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 69) meeting in London did not reach agreement on a work plan for developing carbon emissions regulation, advocates said Thursday.

Many industry groups and member states have called for addressing CO2 emissions within the International Maritime Organization's regulatory authority, and the negotiators at this year’s COP21 climate discussions in Paris agreed, leaving shipping's carbon emissions up to IMO.

However, at the MEPC meeting this week, a small group of states – advocates pointed to the BRICS nations, notably China – were set against developing any plan for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Despite public support from many developed nations and from a majority of the member states at the meeting, and despite an intervention by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, the discussion of a work plan ended without agreement. 

Climate activists expressed dismay. “The IMO . . . [was] unable even to agree to develop a work plan for reducing ship emissions,” said John Maggs, senior policy advisor at environmental NGO Seas At Risk. 

The French delegation said that the absence of movement towards action meant that the IMO would be "held up to ridicule on the very day that the Paris agreement was being signed in New York,” referring to Friday, when leaders of 160 nations gather to sign the COP21 Paris Agreement on climate change. The U.N. says that it will be the biggest signing of an international agreement in history.

The MEPC’s next meeting will be held in October 2016.

In news Friday, the MEPC said that it had approved mandatory requirements for ships to record and report their fuel consumption.

“It has been very encouraging to see States which had previously found it difficult to reach binding agreement on climate change measures bring the spirit of the Paris Agreement to IMO this week. The unanimous agreement to take forward a mandatory data collection system for ships’ fuel consumption is a significant step. It will provide a solid basis on which to consider, armed with information, whether further measures may be required in future to mitigate GHG emissions from shipping,” Mr Lim said.