The shipping industry remains firmly behind the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as the architect of change when it comes to regulating shipping’s CO2 emissions, according to Peter Hinchliffe, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
While it is clearly in the interest of shipping to minimize its CO2 output by reducing fuel consumption, recently agreed amendments to Annex VI of IMO’s MARPOL Convention which – on a global basis – will make the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) mandatory for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) mandatory for existing vessels, were ‘absolutely’ what had been hoped for by ICS.
Addressing delegates attending a special Guest Lecture at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Hinchliffe said: “The EEDI is a nonprescriptive requirement, as the decision over which technologies to use within a specific ship design are left to the industry. So long as the required energy‐efficiency level is achieved, naval architects and ship builders may employ whichever solutions they deem fit. The new regulations are also being presented as a vehicle for technical cooperation and the transfer of technology where improvements in energy efficiency are concerned, particularly as administrations must cooperate with international bodies such as the IMO to offer support to states requesting technical assistance.
“The regulations were ‘absolutely’ what this organization had hoped for and the IMO’s decision is an important one, not just for the shipping industry, but I think it shows that a consensus can be achieved on climate change within an international debate. It’s a global first and because the IMO has done this for operational and technical measures, this means it can generate the will to do something about market-based measures as well,” he stressed.
"The shipping industry will fully support measures which are ‘parented in the IMO,’ and I am confident that the impact on world trade and on the business of shipping will be taken into account. I am not confident that these factors would be taken into account if the debate occurs at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or as a result of the outcome of the high level advisory group which the UN Secretary General convened. We want the IMO to continue to work on this process and we believe it has demonstrated that it can do just that.”
He added: “The European Commission or perhaps more correctly the European Parliament, makes a habit of trying to force IMO’s hand; we saw it done over recent fuel sulphur content legislation and we are seeing it again over CO2 emissions. The EC has told the IMO on several occasions that if it does not have legislation in place by a certain date then Brussels will impose unilateral legislation within Europe.
“Although people imagine that this could mean the inclusion of shipping in the European Emission Trading Scheme like international aviation, in practice it is clear that Europe does not really know how to deal with the complexity of shipping. With aviation recently having been given leave to go to the European Court of Justice, this seems to question the confidence with which Europe felt it could regulate the airlines of non‐European States. But the problem that Europe is creating is a rush to conclusion in IMO that may very well be at the cost of good legislation. If the rush is too fast then the legislation may merely increase costs across the industry without actually reducing CO2 emissions at all – a rather pointless exercise in bureaucracy.
“CO2 emissions from international shipping cannot be reduced effectively and meaningfully through the incorporation of shipping into any regional financial instrument. Therefore ICS is strongly opposed to the application of any regional Green House Gas scheme to international shipping.
“In fact ICS is strongly opposed to the application of the European ETS to shipping. We believe that if and when governments are ready to apply a global market‐based mechanism to shipping then a compensation fund‐based approach is more likely to offer a bankable solution that will have the least negative impact on the carriage of goods by sea. There is no doubt that the IMO’s success at delivering technical and operational legislation was an astonishing success – perhaps this will put a spotlight on UNFCCC at its Durban meeting in December,” he stressed.