IMO’s Revised Greenhouse Gas Strategy 2023: Next Steps Ship’s crew

By Barry Parker (gCaptain) –

A revised greenhouse gas emissions strategy was adopted today at the MEPC 80 meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The most important points are summarized below:

  • The ambitious goals of the IMO GHG Strategy 2023 are as follows: reduce the ship’s carbon intensity by further improving energy efficiency for new ships to be reviewed, with the aim of strengthening energy efficiency design requirements for ships;
  • the CO2 intensity of international shipping to decrease in order to reduce the CO2 emissions per transport work on average of international shipping by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2008;
  • The introduction of technologies, fuels and/or energy sources that produce no or almost no greenhouse gas emissions is expected to increase
  • Adoption of technologies, fuels and/or energy sources that emit zero or almost zero greenhouse gas emissions to account for at least 5% and 10% of the energy consumption of international shipping respectively by 2030; And
  • GHG emissions from international shipping are to reach net-zero to peak GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible and by or around 2050, i.e. as called for in the vision, in line with the long-term temperature target set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement

The next steps will be to introduce a universal compulsory levy (economic elements) and fuel standards (technical elements). No precise details have been defined yet, rather the MEPC has until 2025 (when MEPC 83 takes place) to finalize the wording of the “medium term measures” and until 2028 to finalize items for the longer term measures. An impact assessment of the medium-term measures will be prepared by mid-2024. The targets set in the revised strategy are non-binding, as noted in the Indicative Control Points section to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by or around, so close by 2050″.

  • Reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 20% by 2030 compared to 2008, with a target of 30%; And
  • Reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 70% by 2040 compared to 2008, with a target of reaching 80%.

In their reactions, delegates noted in their speeches that different countries (colloquially between the Global South and the Industrial North) made many compromises to arrive at the final results.

IMO’s Revised Greenhouse Gas Strategy for Shipping: Details and Responses

The Copenhagen-based Global Maritime Forum, which represents the respected side of the shipowning (and charterer) community, commented ahead of the actual approval:

“Today at MEPC80, IMO member states had the historic opportunity to adopt an ambitious Paris Agreement-aligned greenhouse gas emissions strategy that would enable full decarbonisation of shipping by at least 2050. It is a notable improvement that the revised Greenhouse Gas Strategy now aims to achieve net-zero emissions by or around 2050, and the introduction of benchmarks for emissions reductions by 2030 and 2040 sends an important signal to governments and industry. However, the revised strategy is not enough to provide the needed clarity and strong commitments for a just and just transition in line with the Paris Agreement.”

The United States said in its comments that the new strategy “sends a clear signal to all stakeholders that we must take decisive action.”

The US noted an objection to the IMO’s wording, which ties the new strategy to the Kyoto Protocol (as one of several “guiding principles”), which it has never ratified.

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