IBIA CONVENTION: Expecting Delay to Decarbonisation Implementation Would Be 'Huge Mistake'

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday November 9, 2023

Industry body IBIA's new representative to the IMO -- and a former key emissions policy official at the UN body -- has argued shipping cannot afford to take a 'wait and see' attitude to decarbonisation.

Edmund Hughes, who took on the role of IBIA IMO representative in September, spoke on a panel session at the IBIA Annual Convention 2023 in Dubai on Wednesday.

Hughes worked for the IMO from 2010 to 2020, serving as its head of air pollution and energy efficiency from 2013 to 2020 as the organisation drew up its plan to impose a 0.50% sulfur limit on bunker fuel.

"IMO 2020 was significant for many in this room," Hughes said at the conference.

"The lesson learned from observation was that many, many chose to wait until the last minute [to develop a plan for compliance], thinking incorrectly that there would be a delay in implementation.

"That would be a huge mistake [now, in dealing with decarbonisation].

"Once the regulation is there, people will have to take action very, very quickly, because this situation is changing rapidly.

"I understand why there is a great deal of uncertainty, but I would urge you not to wait."

The IMO's revised GHG strategy, adopted in July, sets a level of ambition of GHG emissions from shipping peaking as soon as possible and reaching net-zero 'by or around 2050, taking into account different national circumstances'.

The document also sets 'indicative checkpoints' of total shipping GHG emissions being reduced by at least 20%, striving for 30%, from 2008's levels by 2030, and by at least 70%, striving for 80%, by 2040.

The strategy sets an additional ambition for uptake of zero- or near-zero-GHG emission technologies, fuels or energy sources to reach at least 5%, striving for 10%, of total energy demand from international shipping by 2030.