ICS Wants IMO to Commit to CO2 Targets

Credit: Diamantino Rosa

Published May 15, 2017 12:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

At its annual general meeting in Istanbul last week, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has agreed to urge the IMO to adopt some dramatic CO2 reduction objectives – on behalf of the international shipping sector as a whole – in order to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In a submission to IMO Member States, being made in conjunction with other shipping organizations, ICS will propose that IMO should adopt three objectives:

• To maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels;

• To reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50 percent by 2050, compared to 2008; and

• To reduce international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction.

Speaking in Istanbul, ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, said: “It is very important that IMO sends a clear and unambiguous signal to the global community that shipping’s regulators have agreed some ambitious objectives, with numbers and dates, for reducing the sector’s CO2 emissions, in the same way that land-based activity is now covered by government commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

ICS wants IMO to remain in control of additional measures to address CO2 reduction by ships and to develop a global solution, rather than risk the danger of market distorting measures at national or regional level.

“Shipping has a very good story to tell about reducing CO2 but this is difficult to convey so long as there is no clear signal from IMO as to what our collective CO2 reduction objectives should be" said Poulsson.

Dramatic CO2 reductions alongside increasing trade can only be achieved with the development of alternative fossil-free fuels – something which needs to be identified by the IMO strategy, said Poulsson.

“The long term future of the industry, like the rest of the world economy, must eventually be fossil fuel free. The trajectory for getting there, not least the development of alternative fuels, could well take us several decades. But this will only be achieved if the industry itself pushes for the adoption by IMO of some suitability ambitious objectives so that all concerned are under no illusion about the scale of the task ahead.”

According to the 2014 IMO GHG Study, international shipping emitted 921 million tons of CO2 in 2008. As a result of technical and operational measures, this figure declined by 13 percent to less than 800 million tons of CO2 in 2012 or 2.2 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions.

In the absence of additional CO2 reduction measures, however, total CO2 from international shipping is currently projected by IMO to increase above 2008 levels due to additional demand for maritime transport.

The Istanbul meeting was hosted by the Turkish Chamber of Shipping from May 9-11.