IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos has reminded delegates at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15) of the importance of regulating the shipping industry through a competent, international body that can establish the appropriate global standards.
Addressing two events in the context of the Conference, Mitropoulos stressed that international shipping requires global regulations if it is to function as the principal vehicle for the movement of global trade. As a global industry requiring global standards, he said, its regulation should, without exception, be the responsibility of an international body dealing exclusively with maritime matters, one that understands how the industry operates and has the specialized knowledge, skills, track record, experience and expertise.
Mitropoulos added that IMO had developed these skills over more than 50 years and was uniquely placed to regulate the industry from all perspectives, including those within the objectives of COP 15. Highlighting the Organization's environmental credentials, demonstrated by the numerous IMO treaty instruments addressing the prevention and control of pollution - both marine and atmospheric - from shipping operations, he underlined that climate change should be no exception.
IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has been developing measures to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping and has agreed that any related regulatory scheme should be developed and enacted by the Organization as the most competent relevant international body, Mitropoulos informed. To date, the outcome of the MEPC's work contains three distinct components: technical measures that will be mainly applied to new ships; operational measures for all ships (new and existing); and market-based reduction measures to provide emission-cutting incentives to the shipping industry.
Speaking of the Organization's objectives for the Copenhagen Conference, Mitropoulos said that he was "convinced that the interests of mankind and the global climate would be best served if the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, most of which are also IMO Member States, continued entrusting the Organization with the development and enactment of the global regulatory regime needed to limit or reduce GHG emissions from international shipping, on a universal basis."
"IMO has been energetically pursuing, with all concerned stakeholders, the necessary mechanisms that will lead to a strong shipping-related anti climate change infrastructure", he continued. "Today, we have them all in place or well underway; today, we stand ready to enact them, taking into account all relevant outcomes from COP 15; let there be no doubt, IMO will deliver a robust and comprehensive regime and, together with the international shipping industry, will continue to seek even better results".