Slashing shipping emissions needs open data, IMO told

Shipping efficiency data should not be withheld by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) but made transparent so the industry can improve environmental performance, campaign groups have said.

Transport & Environment, Seas at Risk, and Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room argue that a lack of publicly available data on the energy performance of individual ships is one of the principal barriers to the sector reducing its emissions. The groups support initiatives to make efficiency performance publicly available and require ships to report and publicise their energy efficiency data, but are this week warning that some in the industry are trying to undermine these moves.

Shipping accounts for between two and three per cent of global emissions, but the sector’s share of total emissions is set to rise exponentially as other sectors decarbonise and global trade increases. Studies by the IMO suggest emissions are likely to grow by between 50 per cent and 250 per cent by the middle of the century unless action is taken.

The IMO, a UN body, has introduced a series of efficiency measures known as the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) it says should cut shipping’s emissions intensity 23 per cent by 2030, although this may not be enough to effect an absolute reduction in emissions.

Carbon War Room and vetting company RightShip runs, a website that allows charterers and shippers to assess the most energy efficient ships on an A-G rating, which is used by 27 companies that account for 1.8 billion tonnes of cargo across 22,000 vessel movements each year.

But the website has ruffled feathers in the industry and some have viewed the IMO’s decision to restrict access to the EEDI data on newly built ships as a result of ship owners’ and operators’ protests that such information is commercially sensitive.

However, in submissions to the IMO’s environment committee (MEPC), which meets this week, the groups say competitiveness concerns run counter to the experience in other industries such as car manufacturing, where the publication of vehicle performance standards has led to average annual improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency of four per cent.

They argue freely available data will promote greater competition, improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions, and cutting costs for the industry and its customers.

“Transparency of efficiency data is needed to inform good policy making and is a win-win for the shipping industry and the environment,” said John Maggs, president of the Clean Shipping Coalition and policy adviser at Seas at Risk. “Transparency of data will help drive down industry costs, improve the functioning of the shipping market and lead to desperately needed reductions in ship GHG emissions.”

An IMO spokeswoman said that the organisation could not comment until the outcome of the meeting was known. “It will be up to the member states meeting at MEPC to take any decision or action in relation to the submission and other submissions to the meeting,” she added.
Source: Business Green

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