Delayed, and now online, IMO MEPC 75 starts

The 75th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) began yesterday, this year held virtually by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

It is expected to accept most of the points raised at the Intersessional Working Group on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships. However, several nations are expected to oppose this, while the Clean Arctic Alliance “implored members to attend and improve its draft ban on the use and carriage of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) in the Arctic.”

At the October intersessional a plan was agreed to reduce the carbon intensity of shipping by 40% within 10 years, compared to 2008 levels. However, NGOs Pacific Environment, Clean Shipping Coalition, Transport & Environment, Ocean Conservancy, Carbon Market Watch and WWF said last week that the proposal would not cap, “let alone reduce, the shipping sector’s 1bn tonnes and rising of annual emissions this decade – the very decade in which the world’s climate scientists say we must almost halve global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to stay within a relatively safe 1.5°C of global warming, as committed to under the Paris Agreement.”

Albon Ishoda, Marshall Islands ambassador to Fiji, said at the weekend that the Marshall Islands would “call to reject the short-term measure proposal up for adoption next week in the MEPC as it fails to reduce emissions before 2023, it will not peak emissions as soon as possible, and it will not set ship CO2 emissions on a pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5C goal”.

If the Intersessional agreement is passed, the MARPOL legislation would see two new measures added:

  • a technical requirement to reduce carbon intensity, based on a new Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI)
  • an operational carbon intensity reduction requirements, based on a new operational carbon intensity indicator (CII).

Meanwhile (see yesterday’s IMN) the largest global shipping associations have joined forces to urge governments to support an industry-financed, $5bn research and development decarbonisation programme.