IMO2050: Support at IMO Grows for New Target of 100% Decarbonisation by 2050

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday March 27, 2023

Support for a revised target of 100% industry decarbonisation by 2050 is growing within the IMO.

The development was reported by the International Bunker Industry Associated (IBIA) following the 14th session of the Intersessional Working Group on GHG Emissions (ISWG-GHG 14) that was held last week, March 20 to 24, 2023.

The current so-called 'IMO 2050' target per IMO's current decarbonization strategy set in 2018 calls for a 50% reduction by 2050.

Discussions are ongoing as to whether the target will entail the complete phasing out of GHG emissions, or be a 'net zero' target.

Where there is consensus is that both methods are envisaged to use a full lifecycle 'well to wake' calcualtion method.

Phasing out emissions is a considerably tougher target to achieve, as it would presumably rule out the generation of any ship-based emissions. This would preecnt the use of decarbonization routes such as biofuels and may even lead to question marks over the use of some popular candidates for zero-carbon fuels such as methanol that currently require a small amount of pilot fuel as part of operations.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a net-zero could encompass emissions trading and carbon capture technologies to achieve the target, and thus potentially the continued use of oil-based bunkers.

Industry stakeholders including shipowners, operators, and bunker companies have been calling for tougher IMO decarbonization targets for some time, with a group of over 150 players in 2021 urging a 100% decarbonization target for 205.

IBIA reports ISWG-GHG 14 also saw calls for more ambitious targets for 2030, currently set to be 40% reduction in intensity by 2030, with some wanting this to be increased to at least 65%.

A proposal for an overall reduction of 37% in 2030 was also put forward.

Proposals for a new 2040 target calling for reductions of 50%, 80% and 96% compared to 2008 levels were also made.

The discussions at ISWG-GHG 14 come ahead of the 80th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80), being held from July 3-7, 2023, where IMO is expected to adopt a more ambitious GHG strategy than its current targets set in 2018.