Europe should pile up pressure on the IMO to deliver on CO2 cap

16 December 2016

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted for the inclusion of the shipping emissions in the EU ETS “in the absence of progress at international level” as from 2023 and the establishment of a maritime climate fund. 

Shipping being a global industry and climate change being a global challenge, ESPO strongly believes that IMO is by far the right level to address the issue and to find a solution. In that respect, ESPO believes that the roadmap agreed on at the IMO MEPC meeting last October is a starting point. The IMO needs to rump up its efforts and submit an initial reduction target to the stock-take process of the Paris Agreement in 2018.  This should be accompanied by short-term measures. By 2023, IMO should set an emissions reduction target and have the necessary measures to realise this target spelled out.

ESPO believes that a 6-year period gives to IMO enough time to put forward an emissions reduction target and measures to implement it. 2023 must therefore be seen as a milestone. In case this deadline is not met, EU measures will have to be introduced. It should however be clear that in case of an international agreement by 2023, the EU measures are to be repealed.    

The Paris Agreement has sent a strong signal that international cooperation can deliver tremendous results. The IMO is the right place to address shipping emissions. There is already a coalition of the willing in IMO and Europe should increase the pressure on the IMO to step up its efforts and make progress. It is becoming clear that if the IMO will not deliver an emissions reduction target and measures to implement it by 2023, an EU approach seems unavoidable. We therefore hope that the IMO will demonstrate the same level of ambition when addressing climate change as it did on the global air pollution cap agreed last October”, says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost. 

The EU and national climate measures that are currently being developed to implement the Paris Agreement, will oblige ports to reduce the carbon footprint of their land-based activities. These efforts should be accompanied by measures covering emissions generated at sea. The environmental image of the maritime and port sector is at stake.  Besides, ports in Europe are literally on the first row when it comes to facing the consequences of Climate Change[1].

Last October, IMO MEPC 70 agreed on a roadmap towards the development of a comprehensive strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. 2018 has been set as a milestone for defining an initial IMO strategy. This initial strategy will allow international shipping to take part in the first stock-taking meeting under the Paris Agreement in 2018 where all national reduction targets will be tested whether they are fit for purpose. This initial strategy would subsequently be adjusted based on the analysis of available data, and a revised strategy envisaged for spring 2023 will be finally adopted.

The roadmap does not however make any commitment to setting an initial emissions reduction target as part of the strategy[2].

[1] In advance of IMO MEPC 70 meeting in October 2016, ESPO called on the IMO to deliver progress and take concrete steps so that shipping contributes its share to the global emissions reduction effort.


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