New report gives the IMO momentum for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships Ship’s crew

By Barry Parker (gCaptain) –

In anticipation of the upcoming 80th meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in early July, the MEPC is considering commissioning a new report on the readiness and availability of low-carbon and zero-carbon marine technology and fuels .

The report, prepared by environmental consultants Ricardo-AEA Ltd and DNV, “suggests that achieving a more ambitious decarbonization path than business as usual is feasible, with increased ambition and the implementation of further measures to reduce greenhouse gases,” the report said IMO.

At the MEPC80, Member States aim to revise the IMO’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction ambition beyond the target of the IMO’s original strategy set out in 2018 to reduce maritime CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. In describing the latest report, which was submitted to a working group dealing with the key technical and economic issues between MEPC meetings, IMO said: “The main results, including a summary report of the study, were submitted to the MEPC 80 at Inform Member States as they work towards the revision of the original IMO GHG strategy by providing a feasibility analysis on possible enhanced ambition levels.”

Unlike previous reports on maritime decarbonisation, the Ricardo-AEA/DNV report takes a new tack by pointing to and emphasizing uncertainties on the demand side – in contrast to most other analyzes which use the chicken-and-egg -Troubles in tuning complain about fuel demand and supply. The authors suggest that the IMO must set a clear target – whether it is a 50%, 80% or 100% reduction – to remove barriers to the uptake of candidate fuels by the shipping industry. They also note that technology, infrastructure and shipyard readiness are unlikely to be barriers to adoption. Biofuels, including biomethanol, are expected to be operational in the mid to late 2020s, while onboard CO2 capture will take longer due to high capital costs.

While the idea of ​​achieving a very specific decarbonization target seems plausible, there are concerns that the IMO might not agree on a revised strategy at the MEPC80 due to contentious diplomatic rows. As already mentioned, the actual technical work, e.g. Eg the discussion of one fuel versus another, engine efficiency and better measurement of ship productivity on longer (or shorter) voyages, etc., took place in the working groups between MEPC meetings. So while the report does not break new ground on these issues, it does give the MEPC momentum to set channel markers and milestones for maritime decarbonization.

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