The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has voiced its support for the CO2 emissions reductions strategies proposed by China and Japan ahead of next month’s IMO meetings on sustainability in shipping.
Esben Poulsson, chairman of ICS, says that an agreement to achieve a 70 to 100 per cent total cut in emissions before 2050 — favoured by some EU member states — is “unlikely to achieve consensus support”.
While Poulsson notes that he does not agree with every feature of China or Japan’s proposals, their more moderate targets could form the basis of a global compromise.
“China in particular seems to have made a real effort to move away from its previous opposition to establishing CO2 reduction goals for the sector’s total emissions,” he says. “If EU nations want a global agreement they should acknowledge this by similarly modifying their own positions.”
In a briefing note to its member national shipowners’ associations, ICS suggests that a 50 per cent reduction in emissions, as opposed to 70 per cent or above, would still require significant improvements in vessel efficiency.
ICS has previously indicated that its ultimate aim is to eliminate all CO2 emissions from global shipping sometime between 2050 and 2100, depending on when the widespread availability of zero CO2 fuels makes this realistic.
“A mid-century objective similar to that proposed by Japan – which might also enjoy support from nations like China if EU nations were willing to compromise – would still provide a compelling signal to the industry,” Poulsson continues.
“This should also be sufficient to stimulate the development of zero CO2 fuels leading to a 100 percent CO2 reduction in line with the ambitious vision which IMO must agree.”
IMO’s Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships will meet from 3 to 6 April to finalize the text of its draft initial strategy. The group will then provide a report to the 72nd session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, which begins on 9 April.