ICS Sets Out CO2 Reduction Plan for Shipping, Warns Industry Could be Vulnerable to Regional Action

Friday February 24, 2017

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) today has set out what the industry would like the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to achieve as part of its CO2 reduction strategy for the shipping sector.

"We are confident IMO can adopt an ambitious strategy by 2018 matching the spirit of the Paris Agreement," said ICS Chairman Esben Poulsson.

"However, IMO needs to agree a baseline year for peak CO2 emissions from shipping, as well as setting out some serious long term aspirations for dramatically cutting the sector's total CO2 by the middle of the century."

ICS says IMO should adopt objectives for the entire sector, rather than for individual ships, "in the same way that governments have already agreed CO2 commitments for their national economies under the Paris Agreement."

But with 60 percent of maritime trade now serving developing nations, ICS says any CO2 reduction goals agreed by IMO must also address the concerns of developing nations over the potential impacts on trade and sustainable development.

IMO also needs to agree a mechanism for delivery, says ICS, which the organisation says it would like to see in place by 2023. 

If IMO decides to develop a Market Based Measure, ICS says that the "clear preference" of the industry is for a bunker fuel levy.    

Poulsson, who was speaking today in Indonesia at The Economist magazine's World Ocean Summit, also took the opportunity to again warn of the dangers of regional action being taken on CO2 reduction measures should IMO be seen as failing to make significant progress on the matter of a global level.

The European Parliament recently decided to include shipping emissions in the European Union's (EU's) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2023 if the IMO does not have a comparable system operating for global shipping from 2021, a move ICS described at the time as one that will "polarise and impede" current discussions on further CO2 reduction measures.

Today, Poulsson said the industry could be vulnerable to regional action not only from the EU, "but also from Canada or California, which have already introduced carbon pricing."