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MEPs issue unilateral warning as IMO climate goals are deemed 'not good enough'

EU politicians draw line in sand with Paris Agreement as one MEP warns: 'the powers that want to water down the proposal are gaining ground'.

EU politicians warn that they would be prepared to look at unilaterally setting regional measures if the IMO's climate goals are not in line with their requirements. Image credit: Pixabay CC0

Updated on 11 Apr 2018 00:47 GMT

Prominent MEPs voiced their concerns that discussions at the 72nd session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) may not lead to their desired climate goals being agreed this week, with politicians warning that the EU will be prepared to take action if the International Maritime Organization (IMO) does not implement the initial strategy on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction that they, and others at the London meeting, are demanding.

Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout commented on Tuesday: "Last week [the working group] was positive, and we have a draft document with absolute reductions... But yesterday and today make me less optimistic. What is on the table is the bare minimum, and it's not good enough. The target is insufficient, and there are no short-term actions at all. We all know short-term action is key to achieve our climate goals."

"The powers that want to water down the proposal are gaining ground, and are using the argument that industry is not ready," Eickhout added.

Similarly, Swedish MEP Jytte Guteland, also stressed the need for short-term and mid-term measures, whilst also warning that the EU would be prepared to look at unilaterally setting regional measures if the IMO's climate goals are not in line with their requirements.

"We [the European Parliament] don't want to do things if IMO is taking responsible action, but we are willing to go further if necessary," Guteland said.

"Both the [European] Council and the Parliament have said if we don't see real steps forward on a global scale by 2023, the EU needs to take action. But we don't want to go down that road, we want the IMO to deliver," Guteland added.

Another MEP, Croatia's Dubravka Suica also warned: "The EU is willing to take concrete steps. We don't wish it; we want to have global action."

Discussions and positions

Meanwhile, Martin Dorsman, Secretary-General, European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA), explained how there had been resistance by some nations to discuss numerical reduction goals.

"There are still countries opposing even talking about quantitative targets, saying we need more data and to wait until 2023. But that's not what industry is supporting; we are supporting a deal now, with percentages," he said.

According to Suica, in meetings attended up until now, "there are high-ambition countries, and lower-ambition countries".

While Eickhout stated that: "We don't know the exact positions of all countries. The big majority of countries are in the middle somewhere."

"It's the silent majority that in the end needs to decide whether they want a credible outcome for IMO or not."

Paris Agreement - the 'red line'

In terms of the minimum acceptable outcome, the Croatian politician was keen to stress that "Our red line is the Paris Agreement."

Dorsman also coincided that: "We view this deal as a step on a pathway to full decarbonization, in line with Paris.

"We have to have a good deal, that's what we are aiming for. Fifty percent [GHG reduction] by 2050 is something the industry can support," Dorsman added.

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