ECSA urges IMO to press ahead with GHG reduction targets at MEPC 72

Reiterates 'strongest possible commitment' to lowering emissions from shipping.

The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) headquarters in London. Image credit: Andrew Bowden Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Updated on 26 Mar 2018 12:46 GMT

The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) on Monday urged the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to press ahead with greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets at the upcoming 72nd session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in two weeks' time.

ECSA's president, Panos Laskaridis, said: "With the IMO MEPC 72 meeting fast approaching, the European Shipowners reiterate their strongest possible commitment to the development, within the time schedule agreed in the Roadmap, of an ambitious and realistic IMO strategy on GHG, including CO2 emissions reductions from shipping as a whole and urges Member States to work diligently towards this goal".

"The European Shipowners believe that all proposals by IMO Member States should be discussed [at MEPC 72] on their own merit, as the negotiations have reached a very sensitive and political stage," ECSA said on Monday.

"ECSA strongly supports and advocates an insightful compromise approach by Member States and the European Institutions in order to reach an agreement, which is the objective for the benefit of the industry and the environment," Laskaridis added.

Speaking in glowing terms about how the maritime industry has historically tackled environmental issues, ECSA commented: "The shipping industry has traditionally spared no effort to enhance the safety and environmental protection and is by far the most energy efficient transport mode. It was also the first industrial sector, way ahead of any other global industry, to be regulated by legally binding global regulations to reduce its CO2 emissions, through two IMO's measures, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), both in force since 2013. IMO's proven track record in developing pioneering and technically feasible environmental measures should be entrusted and supported."

ECSA noted that its president believes the conclusion of an agreement at MEPC 72 is "imperative for addressing GHG emissions reductions from international shipping meaningfully and effectively", whilst adding that it is "committed to facilitate this process, working closely and in good faith with all stakeholders".

In a submission to the previous MEPC meeting made by International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and other shipping associations, it was reiterated that IMO should adopt a number of CO2 reduction objectives on behalf of the international shipping sector. Specifically, it was proposed that the sector's total CO2 emissions should not increase above 2008 levels, thus establishing 2008 as the year of peak emissions from shipping, and that IMO should agree upon reduction percentages per ton-km as well as by which amount the total emissions from the sector might be reduced by 2050.

At MEPC 71, the draft initial IMO plan was discussed in order to establish a clear vision and guiding principles on the levels of ambition for a comprehensive CO2 reduction strategy in line with the Paris COP21 Agreement on climate change. A list of candidate short-, mid- and long-term measures with possible timelines and their impact on IMO states were addressed.