IMO Secretary-General urges maritime nations to work for GHG reduction

Maritime nations and the entire maritime sector including shipping and ports have been charged by the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitack Lim, to work for successful achievement of the IMO initial strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. The initiative was adopted last year.

According to Kitack Lim, the strategy makes a firm commitment to a complete phase out of GHG emissions from ships, a specific linkage to the Paris Agreement and a series of clear levels of ambition, including at least a 50 per cent cut in emissions from the sector by 2050.

He gave the charge at the High Level Conference on Climate Change and Oceans Preservation, in Brussels, Belgium last week, adding that the strategy includes a series of candidate measures that might be applied to achieve these targets in the short, medium and long terms. The detailed work of agreeing which of these will actually be adopted to enable these ambitions to be achieved is now under way.

“We need to focus on technology transfer and research and development; we need expertise; we need IMO’s Member States to come together as one; we need the Member States to bring forward concrete proposals to IMO. We need to involve all maritime sectors – not just shipping. Investment in port infrastructure is just as important,” Secretary-General Lim said.

Mr. Lim said that the initial steps – the candidate short-term measures – are likely to include strengthening the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Shipboard Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP) for ships, as well as gathering information under the fuel-oil data collection scheme.

In the mid-term (before 2030), he highlighted the need to make zero-carbon ships more attractive and to direct investments towards innovative sustainable technologies and alternative fuels. In this context, the reduced sulphur limit for ships’ fuel oil, which enters into force on 1 January 2020, “should be seen as not only a landmark development for the environment and human health but also as a proxy “carbon price” – increasing the attractiveness of lower-carbon fuels or other means of propulsion for ships”.


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