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Environmental groups claim IMO fails to implement its own greenhouse gas reduction plan

Environmental groups claim IMO fails to implement its own greenhouse gas reduction plan
The groups claim the proposal is not consistent with the Paris Agreement

Environmental groups have called out the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) new shipping emission proposals for violating the organisation’s own greenhouse gas strategy in three key ways.

The Transport & Environment organisation claimed that the impact of the decision at IMO’s intersessional working group on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships will not cap, let alone reduce, shipping emissions on this decade.

Firstly, it claimed the J/5 proposal will fail to reduce emissions before 2023, will not peak emissions as soon as possible and will not set ship CO2 emissions on a pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement goals.

The draft text will be forwarded to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), scheduled for 16-20 November, where parties are expected to adopt the recommendations from the working group.

Faig Abbosov, shipping programme director at Transport & Environment, said: “Governments have ridden roughshod over the Paris Agreement by agreeing a measure that will ship emissions grow for decades to come.

“The UN maritime agency again showed the world it can only deliver cosmetic changes. EU countries should work through the European Green Deal to fill the gap left by the IMO.”

The J/5 proposal waters down the “already weak” compromise proposal that the meeting started with in three important ways.

It still contains no carbon intensity target and reduces the stringency of the required Energy Efficiency of Existing Ships Index (EEXI), which requires ships to reduce their engine power to make them more efficient.

This means that the proposal would now curb greenhouse gasses by only 0.65% to 1.3% by 2030 compared to business as usual pathway without IMO regulation.

The business as usual pathway is +15% above the industry’s 2008 baseline.

It also includes loopholes such as non-compliant ships still able to continue underperforming for three consecutive years before they have to file a plan to make improvements, and can easily game” underperformance indefinitely by ensuring one compliant year every three years.

All clauses that would create consequences for non-compliance, such as increased EEXI stringency or ultimately revoking a ship’s statement of compliance, have also been removed.

President of the Clean Shipping Coalition, which has observer status at the talks, John Maggs said: “We urge all countries to reconsider their support for the J/5 decision ahead of MEPC75 this November 16-20 and reject it, unless it can be fundamentally strengthened.”

Responding to a statement made by the IMO’s secretary general on the subject of shipping and climate change, Maggs noted that the organisation needed careful guidance in order to play a proper role in tackling climate change.

He said: “By dismissing any measures that might have an impact on the volume of shipping, the secretary general is saying that putting a price on shipping’s carbon emissions can never play a role in controlling its emissions.

“With the three largest trading blocs, and some of the largest shipping registries, now having agreed to absolute emission reductions, the so-called ‘servant of world trade’ is now also behind even its own customers.”

As of yet, the IMO has not responded to any of the claims made by the environmental groups.