Memorandum submitted by International Maritime Organization (IMO) (EFS09)
on the prevention of air pollution and control of greenhouse gases emissions
from ships engaged in international trade started within
2 Although to date no mandatory instrument to regulate GHG emissions from international shipping has been adopted, IMO has given extensive consideration to the matter and is currently working in accordance with an ambitious GHG work plan, adopted by the fifty-fifth session of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 55) in October 2006, that is expected to culminate with adoption of binding regulations on all ships in 2009.
3 Shipping is probably the most international of all the world's industries, carrying up to 90% of global trade by weight, in a cost and energy efficient way, as well as cleanly and safely around the world. The ownership and management chain surrounding ship operations can embrace many countries; ships in international trade; and spend their economic life moving between different jurisdictions, often far from the country of ownership or registry. It should be noted that an overwhelming portion (77% of the tonnage by dead weight) of all merchant vessels engaged in international trade is registered in developing countries (countries not listed in Annex I to the UNFCCC).
Shipping and sustainable development
4 Shipping is a crucial force in sustainable development, making a massive contribution to global prosperity with only a marginal negative impact on the global environment. Both the poor and the rich benefit from seaborne trade. Moreover, due to the nature of shipping, developing countries can and do become major participants in the industry itself and, by so doing, generate income and create national wealth. However, the significant increase in global trade and international seaborne transport over the past decades (500% growth over the past 40 years) has also brought negative consequences, as does all human and industrial activity through increased emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Maritime transport and sustainable development
5 There is no doubt that shipping is a clean, green, environmentally-friendly and very energy-efficient mode of transport. Overall, it is only a small contributor to the total volume of atmospheric emissions. Nevertheless, significant reductions in harmful emissions from ships and increases in fuel efficiency have been achieved over the past decades; through enhancements in the efficiency of engine and propulsion systems and improved hull design. Larger ships and a more rational utilization of individual vessels have also contributed significantly to reducing the amount of energy needed to transport a given unit of cargo.
6 What is often overlooked in any discussion about overall levels of GHG emissions from shipping is that the total amount of shipping activity is not governed by shipping itself, but by global demand for shipborne trade, and not only is this high, but it continues to grow. The international shipping industry is the life blood of the global economy. Without shipping, it would simply not be possible to conduct intercontinental trade, to transport raw materials in bulk or to enable the import and export of affordable food and manufactured goods.
IMO's GHG related work
9 The 2000
.1 Phase 1, covering a CO2 emission
inventory from international shipping and future emission scenarios, will be
.2 Phase 2, also covering greenhouse gases
other than CO2 and other relevant substances in accordance with the
methodology adopted by UNFCCC, as well as the identification and consideration
of future reduction potentials by technical, operational and market-based
measures, will be submitted to
10 The preliminary conclusions on Phase one of the updated study was conveyed to an intersessional meeting in June this year. The main conclusion of the study was that the contribution of international shipping to global CO2 emissions from ships above 100 GT engaged in international trade was deemed to be 843 million tonnes in 2007 or 2.7% of the world's total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The report also indicates that this percentage would rise to 3.3% (1,091 million tonnes) if ships in domestic trade and fishing vessels are included. The study projected ship's CO2 emissions to grow by a factor of 2.4 to 3.0 by 2050, assuming there are no explicit regulations (base scenario) on CO2 emissions from ships. For 2020, the base scenario predicts increases ranging from a factor of 1.1 to 1.3. These predictions take into account significant efficiency improvements resulting from expected long-term increases in energy prices.
GHG considerations within IMO
11 MEPC 57 was held in London
from 31 March to 4 April 2008 and considered further follow-up actions
to resolution A.963(23) on "
12 The Secretary-General of
13 MEPC 57 decided, by overwhelming
majority, to take the principles listed
below as its reference for further debate on GHG emissions from international
shipping and also for further reflection on the nature and form of the measures
to be taken. A coherent and comprehensive future
1. effective in contributing to the reduction of total global greenhouse gas emissions;
2. binding and equally applicable to all flag States in order to avoid evasion;
4. able to limit, or at least, effectively minimize competitive distortion;
5. based on sustainable environmental development without penalizing global trade
6. based on a goal-based approach and not prescribe specific methods;
7. supportive of promoting and facilitating technical innovation and R&D in the entire shipping sector;
8. accommodating to leading technologies in the field of energy efficiency; and
9. practical, transparent, fraud free and easy to administer.
14 A number of delegations expressed reservations on the principle stated in paragraph 13.2 above. The Chairman proposed to carefully reflect on the contested principle in the intersessional period and the intention of the reflection would be to reach consensus on the issue of the principles at the next session of the Committee. MEPC 57 accepted the proposal of the Chairman and encouraged Member States to submit their views to that session.
Intersessional meeting held in June 2008
15 The first Intersessional Meeting of the Working Group on
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships (GHG-WG 1), which was attended by more than
210 delegates comprising experts from all over the world, was held in
16 The intersessional meeting in
17 In particular, the meeting further developed
a formula and the methodology, as well as draft text for the associated
regulatory framework, for a proposed mandatory CO2 Design Index for
new ships based on submissions by
18 The intersessional meeting also considered the interim CO2 operational index and identified areas where changes have been proposed. The interim CO2 operational index was adopted by MEPC 53 in July 2005 and has been used to establish a common approach for trials on voluntary CO2 emission indexing, enabling shipowners and operators to evaluate the performance of their fleet with regard to fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. The draft CO2 Operational Index is put forward to MEPC 58 with the view to finalizing the indexing scheme at that session.
19 The intersessional meeting reviewed best practices for voluntary implementation and developed further guidance for the ship industry on fuel efficient operation of ships. The meeting considered best practices on a range of measures as identified by earlier sessions of MEPC and how they can be implemented by ship builders, operators, charterers, ports and other relevant partners to make all possible efforts to reduce GHG emissions from ship operations. Operational measures have been identified as having a significant reduction potential that can often be achieved without large investments, but would require cooperation with a range of stakeholders such as those identified above.
Further GHG considerations within IMO
21 MEPC 58 will be held in
22 MEPC 58 will also decide on the work needed prior to MEPC 59,
to be held in July 2009, when the final adoption of a coherent and
The way ahead
23 MEPC 59 is expected to adopt the first global mandatory GHG regulations and efficiency standards for any international industry. This first package will comprise technical and operational measures that most probably will include a mandatory CO2 design index for all new ships, and a requirement for energy efficient operation of ships through the introduction of a mandatory energy efficiency management tool. The mandatory technical and operational requirements may form part of the existing regulations to prevent air pollution from ships contained in Annex VI to the MARPOL Convention. MEPC 59 is also expected to adopt non-mandatory mechanisms such as guidelines for best practices and CO2 operational indexing to complement the mandatory instrument.
24 MEPC 59 is further expected to have in place the needed framework for a future market-based instrument (e.g. an emission trading scheme or a fuel levy mechanism) and to agree on the timeframe for this part of the work.
25 The fifteenth Conference of Parties (
25 September 2008