International Maritime Organization Secretary General Koji Sekimizu has issued a strong call that any discussion on shipping’s contribution to global CO2 emissions must be held at the IMO, not left to individual governments that may be tempted to consider specific measures aimed at reducing shipping’s overall contribution of CO2 emissions.
Sekimizu call comes ahead of key negotiations among world leaders on climate change in Bonn and Paris later this year.
In a statement issued during a conference in Singapore this week, Sekimizu reiterated his view that IMO is the only place where the debate over shipping and climate change should be taken forward, given the huge impact the industry has on the global economy and its unique international structure.
Sekimizu pointed to IMO’s proven track record in developing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and mitigate its contribution to climate change, such as the 1997 adoption of the Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, known as MARPOL Annex VI, and ammendments that followed.
Thanks to IMO, Sekimizu said, shipping is so far the only international industry or business sector already operating under mandatory regulations to reduce emissions over time.
“But who should decide on such measures and where should this be done?” Sekimizu asked. “Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be addressed by Governments – and by Governments willing to act together, in a spirit of cooperation. Historically, debate among Governments about shipping, be it technical, operational or fiscal, has taken place within IMO, where the nature of, and impact on, the shipping industry is best understood.
“And I believe IMO is the only place to take this debate forward, too. Indeed, this was already recognised in the Kyoto Protocol, where IMO was designated as the agency to deal with greenhouse gas emissions from shipping – a responsibility that it has diligently and successfully undertaken.
“But, whatever world leaders decide with regard to shipping during the forthcoming climate change negotiations, they must first carefully consider the impact of those decisions in light of the enormous contribution that shipping makes to the world economy.”
Sekimizu concluded: “IMO has a solid track record of solving problems with complex multinational dimensions. For decades, by developing measures that are applied universally to the world’s most international of industries, IMO has served global society well. As its record to date so clearly demonstrates, it should be entrusted to continue that work when it comes to addressing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.”