Green Groups Criticise Lack of Shipping Emissions Progress at MEPC69

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday April 21, 2016

Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E), and NGO Seas At Risk, have criticised the shipping industry's lack of progress towards curbing emissions today, as stakeholders were gathered for the 69th session of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)'s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).

With the industry meeting all this week in London, today the topic of shipping emissions and the industry's lack of inclusion in the COP21 global climate agreement was firmly on the agenda, but T&E said by the end of the day, "the IMO could only manage to kick the can down the road to its next meeting in October."

"How extraordinary it is that the IMO can’t agree that the Paris climate deal will require the shipping industry to even assess what it needs to do in response," said T&E shipping director Bill Hemmings.

The industry had been expected to work on a plan to address what its "fair share" contribution to emissions reduction would be in the context of its omission from last year's COP21 agreement to limit global temperature increases to under 2°C.

As to why a lack of progress was made today, T&E pointed the finger at "most" of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) nations, singling out the Cook Islands and China in particular as being against developing a plan, while noting the rest of the Pacific island nations, "developed countries and much of the industry" wanted to develop a post-Paris work plan on what emissions cuts would be needed.

"Key developing countries seem to be in denial," said Hemmings.

With no agreement having been made, discussions on the matter will resume at IMO’s next MEPC meeting in October.

"The IMO has fallen flat on its face in the first test of its determination to tackle greenhouse gas emissions after Paris, unable even to agree to develop a work plan for reducing ship emissions," said John Maggs, senior policy advisor at environmental NGO Seas At Risk.

"Despite a large majority of member states and industry supporting action, the IMO proved unable to translate this into progress, instead allowing itself to be held hostage by a handful of BRICS and the maverick and increasingly isolated Cook Islands."

Last December, the at-the-time IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said shipping's omission from the COP21 agreement would "in no way diminish the strong commitment of IMO as the regulator of the shipping industry to continue work to address GHG emissions from ships engaged in international trade."