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IMO agrees a goal-based approach to help cut emissions is best for now

The IMO, which met in London this week to discuss how the shipping industry can continue to decarbonize, has agreed that a mandatory goal-setting approach is the best way to reduce carbon emissions in the short-term. Full details of the approach will be discussed next year.

States and NGOs discussed the details and the complexities of the different submitted proposals and how they would cut emissions and impact states. After lengthy discussions it was clear that there was no appetite for prescriptive speed reduction regulation.

The IMO concluded that a mandatory goal-based approach is the most appropriate way forward that will provide the needed flexibility and incentive for innovation. Two methods, in line with the industry’s proposal, were recognized: a technical and an operational approach. It was agreed that the two approaches would be further refined, and their implementation and enforcement would also be developed at the next meeting.

Commenting on the agreement, UK Chamber of Shipping Policy Director Anna Ziou said: “The UK Chamber of Shipping has been clear that tackling climate change and reducing emissions is a top priority for us and we welcome the positive outcome of this meeting.

“The progress made sets the right direction of travel and is a good foundation for the IMO’s work to put the strategy into action. However, there is still a lot to be done and we encourage all parties to show at the next meeting the same level of cooperation and come forward with constructive ideas to make sure that we deliver the ambitions of the IMO Green House Gas strategy.”

The next meeting, due to take place 23-27 March in London will also include discussions on some of the difficult questions on how we measure a ship’s efficiency accurately, establish a representative 2008 baseline and reflect the strategy’s targets to individual ships.