The celebratory mood at the International Maritime Organization is over. After adopting a historic strategy in April to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, negotiators have reconvened in London. In the first attempts to follow up on that decision, delegates agreed on three-pronged approach to developing short-term measures. But the challenge in keeping everyone satisfied is already apparent.
INTERNATIONAL shipping regulators have struck a provisional compromise agreement on how to develop short-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures, but without definitively committing to a proposed 2023 deadline, Lloyd’s List understands.
The International Maritime Organization agreed last April to slash shipping’s total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 as well as improving shipping’s carbon efficiency performance by 40% by 2030 then aiming for 70% by 2050, all compared to 2008 levels.
This initial strategy will be revised in 2023, and the IMO is considering measures it can take to try to cut back GHG emissions before then.
An IMO working group on GHG emissions negotiating in London ahead of a high-level environmental meeting next week, agreed on Thursday that the organisation should approach potential short-term measures by dividing them into three different groups.
Under this structure, which was originally proposed by China, the IMO will focus on strengthening regulatory instruments that already exist. It will also develop new measures — one group which will require data analysis and one that will not.
The main compromise, and the potential source of dissatisfaction for those member states and organisations more eager to expedite new measures, is in the timeline.
Lloyd’s List understands that earlier in the week there was a draft proposal by the working group that called on IMO members to decide on measures to reduce GHG emissions “before 2023”.
However, sources familiar with the negotiations said that some countries, particularly developing ones, opposed that reference to “before 2023”, claiming that there are too many measures to consider in the period until then and restricting them to that date would be unrealistic.
The ultimate compromise agreement text will not include that explicit reference to 2023, Lloyd’s List understands, and instead will only have a reference to a specific paragraph of the original strategy.
That paragraph says the IMO should prioritise existing tools and develop short term measures “with a view to achieve further reduction of GHG emissions from international shipping before 2023”.
The Marine Environment Protection Committee, the IMO’s ultimate environmental decision-making authority, is expected to adopt this action plan during its 73rd session next week, paving the way for the development of measures in subsequent meetings beginning in 2019.