The short-term measures adopted at IMO MEPC 76 to cut carbon intensity of ships fell short of what was needed to cut the industry’s carbon footprint, according to several shipping experts.
, initially expected to adopt amendments to cut the carbon intensity of ships by 40% by 2030 but it eventually adopted a less than 2% annual ship CO2 intensity reduction target between 2023-2026, representing an estimated 11% improvement by 2026 compared to 2019 levels, despite opposition by major states such as the US, UK and EU members. he 76th session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 76) took place virtually on 10-17 June
Among other agreed measures, the highlight was the introduction of a technical requirement to reduce carbon intensity, based on a new Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI); and the operational carbon intensity reduction requirements, based on a new operational Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).
This outcome comes at a critical time as the EU is preparing to include shipping in its Emissions Trading System, to monitor emissions domestically, when it revises the bloc’s carbon market on 14 July, following years of negotiations and despite IMO calls for a unified approach on tackling climate change. Reiterating these calls, a statement by IMO Secretary-General at the opening speech of MEPC 76 warned on the risks of regional measures in the global ambition of reducing shipping emissions.
Following the decision, Jytte Guteland, part of the European delegation at the IMO talks, said Brussels “gave the IMO all the opportunity and it was not taken“.
The outcome of this conference must be a signal to the European Commission that they need to create a very strong ETS. It is time for us to move forward,
…she told Reuters.
In addition, last week’s reports said the US Congress recently discussed adopting their own shipping green measures, with House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva introducing the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act, to take on the climate crisis “in creative new ways”. This follows an April call by the US Climate envoy John Kerry on IMO to lead the industry towards zero-emissions by 2050, rather than a 50% cut in emissions which is the current goal.
John Maggs, with the Clean Shipping Coalition, added that the 1.5% annual improvement required in carbon intensity was “nowhere near the 7% annual improvement needed” to keep warming within the Paris Agreement climate goals.
The maritime regulator is greenwashing shipping with a hopelessly weak ship efficiency target. The proposal shows total disregard for climate science and is nothing more than a cosmetic measure. Meanwhile, the IMO is meddling in the democratic affairs of the EU by trying to curb its plans to cut ship pollution. This is unacceptable,
…added Faig Abbasov, shipping programme director at European green group Transport & Environment.
MEPC 76 agreed on efficiency measure to reduce carbon intensity indistinguishable from business-as-usual. For next 10 years, shipping’s climate heating emissions will likely increase especially in Arctic where shipping is set to expand,
Shipping accounts for about 13% of GHG emissions from European transport.