Europe should act on shipping emissions from 2023 if the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) fails to deliver effective global measures, EU governments and MEPs agreed on Wednesday night.
Hailing the agreement, the green transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) said Europe cannot indefinitely outsource its climate responsibility to the IMO, as “the UN agency has repeatedly shown itself incapable of delivering the required level of ambition.”
At last month’s IMO meeting, calls for urgent action to bring about ship greenhouse gas emissions reductions before 2023 were met with heavy push-back by many countries and big industry groups.
The group claimed that even the idea of starting a discussion on these immediate measures – such as operational speed reduction for ships – was blocked. Calls for longer-term emission reduction targets to meet the 1.5ºC warming limit also faced insurmountable opposition.
“The EU is sending a strong signal to the IMO that it needs to deliver, and that ‘action’ means much more than just talking. If the IMO fails, then Europe has a responsibility to its citizens to ensure that all sectors contribute to global climate action and that shipping is not exempt,” said Faig Abbasov, shipping and aviation officer at T&E.
Despite this, IMO stated that the second meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions from ships, on 23-27 October, has made progress in starting to shape a draft initial IMO GHG strategy, while work towards decarbonisation is underway in the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn.
Responding to recent claims by InfluenceMap – who reported that the shipping industry has deliberately blocked international efforts towards climate change, by creating lobby groups to keep shipping out of the Paris Agreement – IMO Secretary General noted that the make-up of national delegations to IMO is entirely a matter for the countries themselves, and those countries who wish to include industry technical experts or others may do so.