Discussions to be held on IMO's proposed 2022 global emission reductions

THE inter-sessional meeting on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the UN's International Maritime Organisation's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will convene from late March to early April

25 February 2020 - 19:00
THE inter-sessional meeting on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the UN's International Maritime Organisation's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will convene from late March to early April.

Ships will likely have to comply with new global emissions-cutting measures as early as 2022, as regulators deliberate proposals in March under intense pressure to deliver on the IMO's initial greenhouse gas emissions strategy.

The detail is open for negotiation, but with one proposal for a technical measure now widely backed and a proposed operational measure also now in the running, the industry faces the certainty of at least one new measure coming into force in a couple of years' time, primarily geared towards the IMO's target of reducing carbon intensity of vessels by at least 40 per cent by 2030 compared with 2008.

The proposals will come under discussion at IMO at the end of March during an inter-sessional meeting on greenhouse gasses. This is a preparatory meeting at which much of the tedious yet highly significant negotiations will happen, London's Lloyd's List reported.

The Marine Environment Protection Committee, which makes all final decisions and meets the week after, often uses the outcome of the inter-sessional to craft policy.

IMO member states are aiming to agree a new measure by 2023. However, the IMO has drawn criticism for dragging out talks during its last few environmental meetings.

The sudden increase in volume from apparatchiks in Brussels wanting more rules imposed on shipping have augmented that pressure, with the European Commission and the Parliament pushing for the EU to regulate emissions, beginning perhaps even before the IMO's short-term measures come into effect.

Panama, Norway, Greece and other influential actors are co-sponsoring a proposal originally tabled by Japan to curb the carbon intensity of existing ships through efficiency targets, in a major push for the highly publicised proposal.

Japan had tabled the first version of this proposal last year, and the latest version is also co-sponsored by the International Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO and Intertanko.

They want existing ships to meet specific energy efficiency targets, based on ship type and size, a target they call the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEESI).

The philosophy is grounded in the energy efficiency design index (EEDI), the IMO requirement that dictates how much more efficient newbuilds have to be.

While the rules would enter into force in 2022, the co-sponsors have left it up to regulators to decide when compliance would start, dependent on certification renewals. But based on the timelines and the options they suggest, the first ships would begin complying as early as March 2022, while the last ones would fall into line in the late summer of 2024.

Denmark, France and Germany are calling in their own proposal for each ship to have individual carbon intensity targets, leaving operators to choose how they will get there. The measure would come into force in mid-2022 and would take effect from January 1, 2023.

Each ship would have an annual required carbon intensity reduction factor based on a 2008 baseline called the carbon intensity indicator. The targets are enshrined in energy efficiency certificates that last a maximum of five years and that will be audited annually.

'A combination of effective enforcement by flag state verification audits and port state control would safeguard against inappropriate compliance strategies and the challenge of charterers for ships engaged in voyage and time charters,' they said.

The proposal envisages that a ship could effectively miss its annual target by a maximum of five per cent, but it would have to show how it would meet the targets of the following years and would also need to comply with additional reductions.

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