Clean Shipping Coalition: Time for Paris to Act on Shipping Emissions

Left to its own devices the International Maritime Organization (IMO) would be unable to show the sort of leadership that the industry needs if it is to prepare for the future and play a proper role in tackling climate change, Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC) said commenting on a recent statement by the IMO’s Secretary General, Koji Sekimizu.

The CSC believes that the IMO’s future role must be guided by an agreement in Paris so as to be able to grasp the nettle over ship GHG emissions which are set to grow with global trade development.

“Paris is not a dispute between UN organisations. It is about all countries and economic sectors taking action to ensure a temperature increase is limited to 1.5/2 degrees. The draft Paris text maintains the IMO’s authority, but states that it must use this authority to introduce measures to ensure that when trade grows, emissions do not grow with it. We know it is technically possible; now the IMO must make it politically possible,” John Maggs, President of CSC said in a statement.

Maggs said that the references to the EEDI “are misleading” and that the IMO chose a baseline for the EEDI from a period of historically low ship design efficiency, “thereby guaranteeing that ships built today don’t have to be much better than those built in the 1980s.”

The CSC President also believes that making big claims about reductions in emissions during a period of recession also looks like what he described as “bad faith.”

“Those reductions are, for the most part, the result of slow steaming, which is a result of over-capacity in the fleet. When demand catches up with the supply of ships there is nothing to stop ships returning to their design speeds and emissions ballooning,” he went on to say.

“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 that statement he puts the shipping sector lagging behind even the oil industry that has issued a call for a global carbon price. 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,” Maggs added.

“The outgoing Secretary-General’s statement compounds his support for the IMO’s rebuff last May of the call by the Marshall Islands, the world’s third largest ship registry, and other vulnerable Pacific Island countries for the establishment of a global ship GHG emissions reduction target. By speaking out in this way, the head of the IMO has, on the eve of his departure from the post, taken a political position against a proposal that was supported by a large and important part of the IMO membership. The need for Paris to act is greater than ever,” the CSC President concluded.