NGO Group Says IMO Secretary-General Aligned with Shipping's "Climate Laggards" for Stance on Regional Shipping Regs

Thursday January 12, 2017

Following a call by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General for the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which urged European Union (EU) officials against including shipping emissions in an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC) says Lim has aligned himself with shipping's "climate laggards."

As Ship & Bunker reported in December, the European Parliament's (EP's) Environment Committee decided to include shipping emissions in the EU's ETS from 2023 if the IMO does not have a comparable system operating for global shipping from 2021.

"It is wrong for the head of the IMO to condemn the European Parliament's actions, when it has the direct legitimacy of European citizens, and is working hard to protect those citizens from the impact of shipping's ever-increasing contribution to climate change," said Faig Abbasov, clean shipping officer for Transport & Environment (T&E), a CSC member.

"We are not aware of Mr Lim writing to those countries and industry bodies that have consistently been blocking progress on ship GHG emissions at IMO for years; it appears as if he is siding with them now."

CSC points out that, since the proposed EU action is conditional upon IMO's own actions by 2023, IMO's decision to speak out against such a commitment by the EU shows a lack of faith in the organisation's own promises to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

"The challenge of meeting the objective of the Paris Agreement is so great that it will require action at all levels," adds John Maggs, CSC president and shipping advisor to Seas at Risk.

"There is nothing that says action can only take place at IMO and indeed it would be counterproductive to concentrate only on the development of IMO measures, when processes there are often subject to delay. The IMO's criticism of EU action is unfortunate and we call on Mr Secretary-General to take stock and press IMO members to urgently agree targets and measures at a global level."

Last month, the Danish Shipowners' Association said it "regrets that MEPs chose regionalism over global progress," suggesting that the committee has decided to ignore the long-term impact the decision will have on European growth and the environment, while the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said the decision will "polarise and impede" current discussions on further CO2 reduction measures.