cargo ship emissions

Environmental Groups and IMO Face-Off Over Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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December 4, 2015

Photo: Shutterstock/CNRN

The International Maritime Organization, along with the aviation industry’s ICAO, have been mocked with the satirical “Fossil of the Day” by environmental groups who say the United Nations regulatory agencies are refusing to submit new emission reduction pledges during the COP21 climate talks in Paris.

The jab is the latest from the European non-governmental organization Transport & Environment (T&E), which has repeatedly slammed the maritime and aviation sectors as they remain the only sectors of the international economy not being required to submit CO2 reduction pledges during the twenty-first session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that kicked off this week.

During a international transport side event at COP21 on Wednesday, the IMO reported on its extensive efforts to reduce GHG emissions from shipping, maintaining that it has already adopted the only global legally-binding energy efficiency measures for an industry sector that will require ships built in 2025 to be 30% more energy efficient than those built in the 2000s. The IMO was also to discuss it Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships Project (GloMEEP), which was launched in September and aims to support increased uptake and implementation of energy-efficiency measures for shipping.

Andrew Murphy, aviation and shipping officer at T&E, said: “Emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors are the elephants in the room. Any deal in Paris must require ICAO and IMO to set emission reduction targets and measures for ships and planes, otherwise the efforts of all the parties to the Paris Agreement to meet the 2 degree target will be derailed.”

Backing the IMO, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) this week reiterated its support of the IMO and its leadership in efforts to reduce GHG emissions from shipping.

“We fully support the idea that shipping has to contribute to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” commented Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary General, adding: “EU Member States gave a vote of confidence to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in its ability to address as soon as possible and in an effective manner greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. We believe this is the right approach as it would be the logical continuation of steps already taken at EU level. After all, the IMO is the shipping industry’s global regulator.”

Leading up to Paris, International Maritime Organization Secretary General Koji Sekimizu has vehemently argued that any discussion on shipping’s contribution to global CO2 emissions must be held at the IMO and not left to individual governments that may be tempted to consider specific measures aimed at reducing shipping’s overall contribution of CO2 emissions.

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