ICS chairman urges greater CO2 reduction effort

IMO - emission

Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping Esben Poulsson has called on the IMO to move quickly and decisively in providing more clarity on the shipping sector’s CO2 reduction goals.

Otherwise the shipping industry could be “vulnerable to regional action, not only from the EU – which is considering incorporating shipping into the EU Emissions Trading System – but also from Canada or California, which have already introduced carbon pricing,” he warned attendees at a World Ocean Summit event in Indonesia.

“We are confident IMO can adopt an ambitious strategy by 2018 matching the spirit of the Paris Agreement,” Poulsson added. “However, IMO needs to agree a baseline year for peak CO2 emissions from shipping, as well as setting out some serious long term aspirations for dramatically cutting the sector’s total CO2 by the middle of the century.”

ICS’ position is that IMO should follow the model adopted by countries in the Paris Climate Agreement of December 2015 and pledge to meet an Intended Industry Determined Contribution (IIDC) emissions reduction target, thereby mirroring countries which have signed up to Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) economy-wide targets.

This would mark an important step for the IMO, points out the ICS, where work to date has focused on setting goals for individual ships rather than the shipping industry as a whole.

Also, IMO also needs to agree “a mechanism for delivery” of such reductions, Poulsson added, which “ICS would like to see in place by 2023”. If IMO decides to develop a Market Based Measure, ICS believes “the clear preference of the industry” is for a bunker fuel levy rather than an emissions trading scheme.

The ICS chairman added that any IMO goals need to be “sufficiently ambitious to allow shipping to play its part in achieving the United Nations ‘2 degree’ climate change target” but also realistic. “Ambitious CO2 reduction objectives will only be achievable with alternative marine fuels which do not yet exist, although we are very confident that they will be available in the not too distant future,” he observed.

ICS also stresses that any CO2 reduction goals agreed by IMO must also address “the legitimate and valid concerns of developing nations,” which some 60% of maritime trade now serves, according to the UN figures.