IMO Secretary-General Urges EU Against Regional Action on Shipping Emissions

Monday January 9, 2017

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General for the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Monday issued a letter to European Union (EU) officials, urging them to address shipping emissions as a united front with IMO, noting that its proposed regional action "significantly risks undermining efforts on a global level," Reuters reports.

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

"I am concerned that a final decision to extend the EU ETS to shipping emissions would not only be premature but would seriously impact on the work of IMO to address GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from international shipping," said Lim.

"Such political cooperation is important to ensure that all countries act together."

EU is set to hold a plenary vote in February on the issue, with EU member states, the European Commission (EC), and EP set to embark on talks this year to decide upon a reform deal.

In December, an EC spokesperson said the commission was closely following discussions and decisions of EP and member governments, but has no specific comment on the proposals' inclusion of shipping.

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.