UN’s International Maritime Organization Adopts Revised Strategy To Reduce Global Shipping Industry’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
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Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), meeting at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80), have adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, with enhanced targets to tackle harmful emissions.
The revised IMO GHG Strategy includes an enhanced common ambition to reach net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping close to 2050, a commitment to ensure an uptake of alternative zero and near-zero GHG fuels by 2030, as well as indicative check-points for 2030 and 2040.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said:
“The adoption of the 2023 IMO Greenhouse Gas Strategy is a monumental development for IMO and opens a new chapter towards maritime decarbonization. At the same time, it is not the end goal, it is in many ways a starting point for the work that needs to intensify even more over the years and decades ahead of us. However, with the Revised Strategy that you have now agreed on, we have a clear direction, a common vision, and ambitious targets to guide us to deliver what the world expects from us.”
“Above all, it is particularly meaningful, to have unanimous support from all Member States. In this regard, I believe that we have to pay more attention to support developing countries, in particular SIDS and LDCs, so that no one is left behind,” he said.
IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for developing global standards for shipping and supporting countries to implement those rules.
Elements of the Strategy are outlined below:
2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships
The 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy) represents the continuation of work by IMO as the appropriate international body to address greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
IMO remains committed to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, aims to phase them out as soon as possible, while promoting, in the context of this Strategy, a just and equitable transition.
Levels of ambition
Levels of ambition directing the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy are as follows:
- Carbon intensity of the ship to decline through further improvement of the energy efficiency for new ships
to review with the aim of strengthening the energy efficiency design requirements for ships;
- Carbon intensity of international shipping to decline
to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 2008;
- Uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources to increase
uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources to represent at least 5%, striving for 10%, of the energy used by international shipping by 2030; and
- GHG emissions from international shipping to reach net zero
to peak GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible and to reach net-zero GHG emissions by or around, i.e. close to 2050, taking into account different national circumstances, whilst pursuing efforts towards phasing them out as called for in the Vision consistent with the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.
Indicative checkpoints to reach net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping:
- to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 20%, striving for 30%, by 2030, compared to 2008; and
- to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 70%, striving for 80%, by 2040, compared to 2008.
Basket of candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures
The 2023 GHG Strategy states that a basket of candidate measure(s), delivering on the reduction targets, should be developed and finalized comprised of both:
- a technical element, namely a goal-based marine fuel standard regulating the phased reduction of the marine fuel’s GHG intensity; and
- an economic element, on the basis of a maritime GHG emissions pricing mechanism.
The candidate economic elements will be assessed observing specific criteria to be considered in the comprehensive impact assessment, with a view to facilitating the finalization of the basket of measures.
The mid-term GHG reduction measures should effectively promote the energy transition of shipping and provide the world fleet a needed incentive while contributing to a level playing field and a just and equitable transition.