Discontent over IMO’s new proposal on GHG reductions

The proposed amendments would require ships to combine a technical and an operational approach to cut their emission. This is in line with the initial IMO GHG Strategy, which aims to reduce carbon intensity of maritime by 40% by 2030.

In addition, a proposal was made to the meeting in an attempt to combine the technical Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) measure with the operational Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) measure. These are in reality Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) limits to existing ships and a rating mechanism to require improvements to the operational carbon efficiency of ships.

While the EEXI reduction rates are listed in the draft MARPOL amendments, the CII rating mechanism still does not give significant details, like how should carbon efficiency be measured, and which reduction factors should be used to calculate annual limits for CII for each ship, according to BIMCO.

The IMO initial strategy’s ambition to improve carbon efficiency of the fleet by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008 is silent on how carbon efficiency shall be measured. Thus the 2030 ambition may, or may not, result in lower total emissions from the fleet – it all depends on the metric chosen and resulting change in operational behaviour of ships

BIMCO stated.

What is more, Transport & Environment believes that the impact of the decision during the IMO Intersessional working Group on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships “will not cap, let alone reduce, shipping emissions this decade.”

The draft text will now be forwarded to the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), scheduled for 16-20 November, where Parties are expected to adopt the recommendations from the working group.

We urge all countries to reconsider their support for the J/5 decision ahead of MEPC75 this November 16-20, and reject it, unless it can be fundamentally strengthened

highlighted John Maggs, president of the Clean Shipping Coalition, which has observer status at the talks.

Moreover, Faig Abbasov, shipping programme director at Transport & Environment, added that governments have “ridden roughshod” over the Paris Agreement by agreeing a measure that will see ship emissions grow for decades to come.

The UN maritime agency again showed the world it can only deliver cosmetic changes. EU countries should work through the European Green Deal to fill the gap left by the IMO

Transport & Environment continued by saying that the J/5 proposal waters down the already weak compromise proposal that the meeting started with on Monday in three important ways:

  • No carbon intensity target, and a weakened Energy Efficiency of Existing Ships Index (EEXI): The proposal still contains no carbon intensity target, and somehow, reduces the stringency of the required EEXI for many ship types. (The EEXI requires ships to reduce their engine power to make them more efficient.) This means the proposal would, at best, now curb GHG by only 0.65% to 1.3% by 2030 compared to business as usual pathway without IMO regulation. Business-as-usual pathway is +15% above the industry’s 2008 baseline.
  • Loopholes: Non-compliant ships will be able to continue underperforming for three consecutive years before they even have to file a plan to make improvements, and can easily game underperformance indefinitely by ensuring one compliant year every three years.
  • No actual enforcement: All clauses that would create consequences for non-compliance – such as increased EEXI stringency or ultimately revoking a ship’s statement of compliance – have been removed.

The weaknesses of the “J/5” text violate the initial IMO GHG Strategy in three key ways, says the NGO. It will fail to reduce emissions before 2023, will not peak emissions as soon as possible, and will not set ship CO2 emissions on a pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement goals.

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