ICS: Regional CO2 Regulation is Unnecessary

IMO headquarters in London (file image)

Published Apr 27, 2018 9:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

The International Chamber of Shipping is hoping that the IMO's new agreement to cut shipping's carbon emissions will satisfy regional regulators. At Singapore Maritime Week, ICS chairman Esben Poulsson said the Marine Environment Protection Committee's adoption of an initial greenhouse gas strategy “should be more than sufficient to discourage those who mistakenly advocate regional measures." 

ICS contends that regional regulation - like that contemplated by the European Union, which has threatened to integrate shipping into its Emissions Trading Scheme - would damage global trade and would not help shipping to reduce its total CO2 emissions. “It’s important that governments recognise the enormity of what has been agreed by IMO. While the ultimate goal is zero emissions, a 50 percent total cut by 2050 is very ambitious indeed, especially when account is taken of current projections for trade growth,” said Mr. Poulsson. “To put this in context, the aviation sector’s regulators have so far only agreed to hold its total CO2 emissions at 2020 levels, with no clear plan for absolute reduction."

Prior to MEPC 72, ICS advocated a greenhouse gas strategy that was comparable to the final agreement. Other parties had pressed for more aggressive cuts: at the most ambitious end of the spectrum, the Marshall Islands called for eliminating CO2 emissions from shipping by 2035. The EU member states called for reducing emissions by 70-100 percent by 2050. Poulsson rejected allegations of industry "foot-dragging," and said that the MEPC agreement shows that "shipping is now far and away ahead of the rest of the world economy in the scale of its ambition." 

While IMO has agreed on a target and a "roadmap" for CO2 emissions reduction, it has not adopted a convention to put its initial strategy into effect. It will conduct additional rounds of emissions data gathering from 2019-2022 and will present its findings in 2023. According to the roadmap, MEPC will then consider emissions regulations, which would be subject to the member state ratification process.