Industry Tells IMO to Set CO2 Targets


Published Jun 22, 2017 8:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

BIMCO, INTERCARGO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and INTERTANKO have made a joint proposal to the IMO laying out what it believes should be the industry's CO2 reduction target.

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee will meet in London this July to begin the development of a strategy for the reduction of the sector’s CO2 emissions aligning the international shipping sector response to the 2015 Paris Agreement’s call for ambitious contributions to combat climate change.

In a detailed submission, the industry bodies have proposed that IMO member states should immediately adopt two aspirational objectives on behalf of the international shipping sector:

• To maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels; and

• To reduce CO2 emissions per ton of cargo transported one kilometer, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50 percent by 2050, compared to 2008.  

In addition, the industry associations have suggested that the IMO should give consideration to another possible objective of reducing international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions, by an agreed percentage by 2050 compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of further CO2 emissions reduction.

The industry associations assert that it is important for IMO to send a clear, unambiguous signal to the global community that shipping’s regulators have agreed to some ambitious objectives for reducing the sector’s CO2 emissions, in the same way that land-based activity is now covered by government commitments under the Paris Agreement.  

In the run-up to the Paris climate conference in 2015, IMO successfully lobbied to keep shipping out of the international climate framework. However, it has not yet reached an agreement on a work plan to begin developing specific rules.

The shipping industry wants IMO to remain in control of additional measures to address CO2 reduction by international shipping and to develop a global solution, rather than risk the danger of market-distorting measures at the national or regional level.   

Acknowledging concerns of developing nations about the possible impacts of CO2 reduction for trade and sustainable development, the industry submission emphasizes that any objectives adopted by IMO must not imply any commitment to place a binding cap on the sector’s total CO2 emissions or on the CO2 emissions of individual ships.  

The industry associations also highlight that dramatic in-sector CO2 reductions alongside increasing trade would require substantial and sustained research into the development of alternative fossil-free fuels and new technologies – something which they say needs to be identified by the IMO strategy.

Shipping is responsible for transporting about 90 percent of global trade and 2.2 percent of the world’s annual man-made CO2 emissions.