MEPC Pushes for Shipping Emissions Cut

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 20, 2019

Pic: International Maritime Organization

Pic: International Maritime Organization

International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) pushed forward with a number of measures aimed at supporting the achievement of the objectives set out in the initial IMO strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, in line with the Paris Agreement under UNFCCC and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The MEPC 74 session (13-17 May) approved amendments to strengthen existing mandatory requirements for new ships to be more energy efficient; initiated the Fourth IMO GHG Study; adopted a resolution encouraging cooperation with ports to reduce emission from shipping; approved a procedure for the impact assessment of new measures proposed; agreed to establish a multi-donor trust fund for GHG; and agreed terms of reference for the sixth and seventh intersessional working groups to be held in November 2019 and in March 2020 respectively in order to expedite the work.  

Also discussed were possible candidate short-term, mid- and long-term measures aiming at reducing GHG emissions from ships, to be further considered at next sessions.

Strengthening energy efficiency rules – draft amendments approved

The MEPC approved, for adoption at the next session in April 2020, amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to significantly strengthen the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) "phase 3" requirements.

The draft amendments bring forward the entry into effect date of phase 3 to 2022, from 2025, for several ship types, including gas carriers, general cargo ships and LNG carriers. This means that new ships built from that date must be significantly more energy efficient than the baseline.

The terms of reference for the Fourth IMO GHG Study were agreed and the tendering process will begin with an invitation to tender issued shortly. The IMO Secretariat will issue a circular letter for procuring the services of the contractor.

The study will include: Inventory of current global emissions of GHGs and relevant substances emitted from ships of 100 GT and above engaged in international voyages. The inventory should include total annual GHG emission series from 2012 to 2018, or as far as statistical data are available.

GHGs are defined as the six gases initially considered under the UNFCCC process: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The inventory should also include other relevant substances that may contribute to climate change, including Black Carbon (BC).

Estimates of carbon intensity (estimates of world fleet's CO2 emissions per transport work, from 2012 to 2018, or as far as statistical data are available).

Possible estimates of carbon intensity of international shipping for the year 2008 (the baseline year for the levels of ambition identified in the Initial Strategy).

 A Steering Committee will be established to act as a focal point for MEPC, to review and monitor progress and confirm that the Study meets the terms of reference. It is intended that the work could begin in Autumn 2019, with a view to the final report of the Study being submitted to MEPC 76, to be held in Autumn 2020. (The previous, Third IMO GHG Study, was published in 2014).

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