It fell to scientists to draw international attention to the threats posed by global warming. Evidence in the 1960s and '70s that concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere were increasing first led climatologists and others to press for action. It took years before the international community responded.
In 1988, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which issued a first assessment report in 1990 which reflected the views of 400 scientists. The report stated that global warming was real and urged that something be done about it.
The Panel's findings spurred governments to create the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was ready for signature at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development - more popularly known as the "Earth Summit" - in Rio de Janeiro.
The Kyoto Protocol adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 is an international agreement linked to the UNFCCC, which major feature is binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the “Marrakesh Accords”. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005.
The Kyoto Protocol contains provisions for reducing GHG emissions from international aviation and shipping and treats these sectors in a different way to other sources due to their global activities that is, pursuing though the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) respectively. Emissions from domestic aviation and shipping are included in national targets for Annex I countries. ICAO and IMO regularly report progress on their work to UNFCCC.
IMO begins work on GHG emissions
In September 1997, an International Conference of Parties to the MARPOL Convention, which adopted the Protocol of 1997 to amend the MARPOL Convention (MARPOL Annex VI), also adopted resolution 8 on CO2 emissions from ships. This resolution invited the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to consider what CO2 reduction strategies might be feasible in light of the relationship between CO2 and other atmospheric and marine pollutants. The resolution also invited IMO, in cooperation with the UNFCCC, to undertake a study of CO2 emissions from ships for the purpose of establishing the amount and relative percentage of CO2 emissions from ships as part of the global inventory of CO2 emissions.
In 2000, the first IMO GHG Study on GHG emissions from ships was published, which estimated that ships engaged in international trade in 1996 contributed about 1.8 per cent of the world total anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
Adoption of resolution
In December 2003, the IMO Assembly adopted resolution A.963(23) on IMO Policies and practices related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, which urged MEPC to identify and develop the mechanism(s) needed to achieve the limitation or reduction of GHG emissions from international shipping. In the ensuing years, MEPC has since been energetically pursuing measures to limit and reduce GHG emissions from international shipping.
OUTCOME OF IMO’S RELEVANT MEETINGS
Marine Environment Protection Committee – 66th session, March/April 2014
MEPC 66 (March/April) adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, regulation 13, on Nitrogen Oxides (NOX), concerning the date for the implementation of “Tier III” standards within emission control areas (ECAs), which are expected to enter into force on
1 September 2015.
The amendments provide for the Tier III NOx standards to be applied to a marine diesel engine that is installed on a ship constructed on or after 1 January 2016 and which operates in the North American Emission Control Area or the U.S. Caribbean Sea Emission Control Area that are designated for the control of NOx emissions.
Correspondence group on the assessment of availability of fuel oil under MARPOL Annex VI
MEPC 66 re-established the correspondence group on the Assessment of Availability of Fuel Oil required under regulation 14.8 of MARPOL Annex VI, under the coordination of the United States, to develop the methodology to determine the availability of fuel oil to comply with the fuel oil standard as set out in regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI.
Establishment of a correspondence group
MEPC 66 agreed to establish a correspondence group on Further Technical and Operational Measures for Enhancing Energy Efficiency, under the coordination of Cyprus, to consider the development of a data collection system for fuel consumption of ships, including identification of the core elements of such a system
Work on control of GHG emissions from international shipping
With regard to mandatory energy efficiency regulations for ships, MEPC 66 adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI concerning the extension of the scope of application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) to LNG carriers, ro-ro cargo ships
(vehicle carriers), ro-ro cargo ships, ro-ro passenger ships and cruise passenger ships with non-conventional propulsion;
The Committee also adopted the 2014 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the Attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships (resolution MEPC.245(66)); and agreed to the establishment of an EEDI database in order to support the review of the implementation of the EEDI provisions as detailed in regulation 21.6 of MARPOL Annex VI.
Further technical and operational measures to enhance the energy efficiency of ships
MEPC 66 discussed various submissions relating to proposals to establish a framework for the collection and reporting of data on the fuel consumption of ships and established a Working Group on “Further technical and operational measures for enhancing energy efficiency of international shipping” to consider the development of a data collection system for ships, including identification of the core elements of such a system.
Technical co-operation and transfer of technology
MEPC 66, in discussing the implementation of resolution MEPC.229(65) on Promotion of Technical Co-operation and Transfer of Technology relating to the Improvement of Energy Efficiency of Ships, established, in accordance to the resolution, an Ad Hoc Expert Working Group on Facilitation of Transfer of Technology for Ships (AHEWG-TT), which met during the session and agreed to hold a second meeting in October 2014, to discuss the specific tasks under the AHEWG-TT work plan.
Technical cooperation activities
Under the 2014 to 2015 Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme (ITCP) of IMO, several national and regional capacity building activities are currently planned, in order to sustain the level of technical cooperation interventions in various regions for the effective implementation and enforcement of energy efficiency measures for ships. In this context, four regional workshops to raise awareness with regard to improving energy efficiency and the control of GHG emissions from ships are scheduled to take place in the biennium.
GEF-UNDP-IMO Project: Transforming the Global Maritime Transport Industry towards a Low Carbon Future through Improved Energy Efficiency
MEPC 66 noted that IMO, through the UNDP, submitted a Project Identification Form (PIF) to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for funding a medium-size project entitled "Transforming the Global Maritime Transport Industry towards a Low Carbon Future through Improved Energy Efficiency" to assist the developing countries in the implementation of new energy efficiency measures adopted by IMO.
Marine Environment Protection Committee – 65th session, May 2013
MEPC 65 continued its work on further developing technical and operational measures relating to energy-efficiency measures for ships, following the entry into force on 1 January 2013, of the new chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI, which includes requirements mandating the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), for new ships and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), for all ships.
MEPC 65, in noting the importance of enhancing energy efficiency and reducing fuel consumption with subsequent reductions of CO2 emissions and other pollutants emitted to air from ships, considered further measures. These include the use of a phased approach to implementation, with the focus of initial work being on data collection, as a basis for future technical work.
IMO is also focusing its efforts on technical co-operation and capacity building to ensure smooth and effective implementation and enforcement of the new regulations worldwide. In this regard, MEPC adopted an MEPC Resolution on Promotion of Technical Co-operation and Transfer of Technology relating to the Improvement of Energy Efficiency of Ships, which, among other things, requests the Organization, through its various programmes, to provide technical assistance to Member States to enable cooperation in the transfer of energy efficient technologies to developing countries in particular; and further assist in the sourcing of funding for capacity‑building and support to States, in particular, developing States, which have requested technology transfer.
Regulations to control emissions from ships
The Committee agreed draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI regulation 13 on Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), to amend the date for the implementation of “Tier III” standards within emission control areas (ECAs) to 1 January 2021, from the current effective date of
1 January 2016. The draft amendments will be circulated prior to MEPC 66 in 2014, for consideration with a view to adoption.
Regulations for energy efficiency for ships
To support implementation of the amendments to MARPOL Annex VI on energy efficiency for ships which entered into force on 1 January 2013, the Committee:
· Approved draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, with a view to adoption at
MEPC 66, to extend the application of EEDI to ro-ro cargo ships (vehicle carrier), LNG carriers, cruise passenger ships having non-conventional propulsion, ro-ro cargo ships and ro-ro passenger ships; and to exempt ships not propelled by mechanical means, and platforms including FPSOs and FSUs and drilling rigs, regardless of their propulsion; as well as cargo ships having ice-breaking capability;
· Adopted amendments to update resolution MEPC.215(63) Guidelines for calculation of reference lines for use with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), including the addition of ro-ro cargo ships (vehicle carrier), ro-ro cargo ships and ro-ro passenger ships, and LNG Carriers;
· Noted, with a view to adoption at MEPC 66, the finalized amendments to resolution MEPC.212(63) 2012 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships;
· Approved amendments to unified interpretation MEPC.1/Circ.795, to update the circular with regards to requirements for SEEMP, to exclude platforms (including FPSOs and FSUs), drilling rigs, regardless of their propulsion, and any other ship without means of propulsion;
· Adopted the 2013 Interim Guidelines for determining minimum propulsion power to maintain the manoeuvrability of ships in adverse conditions, which are intended to assist Administrations and recognized organizations in verifying that ships, complying with the EEDI requirements set out in regulation 21.5 of MARPOL Annex VI, have sufficient installed propulsion power to maintain the manoeuvrability in adverse conditions;
· Approved the 2013 Guidance on treatment of innovative energy efficiency technologies for calculation and verification of the attained EEDI, which are intended to assist manufacturers, shipbuilders, shipowners, verifiers and other interested parties related to the EEDI of ships to treat innovative energy efficiency technologies for calculation and verification of the attained EEDI, addressing systems such as air lubrication, wind propulsion systems; high temperature waste heat recovery systems; and photovoltaic power generation system;
· Adopted the 2013 Guidelines for calculation of reference lines for use with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for cruise passenger ships having non‑conventional propulsion; and
· Adopted amendments to resolution MEPC.214(63) 2012 Guidelines on survey and certification of the energy efficiency design index (EEDI), to add references to measuring sea conditions in accordance with ITTC Recommended Procedure
7.5-04-01-01.1 Speed and Power Trials Part 1; 2012 revision 1 or ISO 15016:2002.
Further measures to improve the energy efficiency of ships
The Committee considered the importance of enhancing energy efficiency and reducing fuel consumption with subsequent reductions of CO2 emissions and other pollutants emitted to air and noted the need to discuss further relevant proposals submitted to the session. In this regard, the Committee considered the use of a phased approach to implementation, with the focus of its initial work being on data collection, as a basis for future technical work.
Expert Workshop on the update of GHG emissions estimate for international shipping – February/March 2013
The Expert Workshop which was held from 26 February to 1 March 2013, considered and made recommendations for the methodology and assumptions to be used in the Update Study.
The new study will focus on updating key figures in the current (second) IMO GHG Study (2009), which estimated that international shipping emitted 870 million tonnes, or about 2.7%, of the global man-made emissions of CO2 in 2007.
The update of the study is considered necessary, in general, to provide a better foundation for future work by IMO to address GHG emissions from international shipping. Sea transport is fuel-efficient and without updated figures it will be difficult to provide a meaningful baseline to illustrate the steadily on-going improvement in fuel efficiency due to improved hull design, more effective diesel engines and propulsion systems and more effective utilization of individual ships resulting from the introduction of mandatory technical and operational measures, including other operational measures employed by ships as a consequence of the economic downturn.
Marine Environment Protection Committee – 64th session, October 2012
MEPC 64 approved amendments to these important guidelines that support implementation of the mandatory measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from international shipping, paving the way for the regulations on EEDI and SEEMP to be smoothly implemented by Administrations and industry upon entry into force on 1 January 2013.
MEPC 64 noted that uncertainty exists in the estimates and projections of emissions from international shipping and agreed that further work should take place to provide the Committee with reliable and up-to-date information to base its decisions. The Committee, in principle, endorsed a draft outline (document MEPC 64/5/5) for an update study of the GHG emissions estimate and agreed that an expert workshop be held in 2013 to further consider the methodology and assumptions to be used in the update.
An updated GHG inventory is considered necessary as the current estimate, contained in the Second IMO GHG Study (2009), does not take account of the economic downturn experienced globally since 2008. The update would be a technical exercise, building on the methodology developed under the Second IMO GHG Study 2009 and based on available data on fleet composition and size as well as on other technical ship-particular data. The inventory would include current global emissions of GHGs and relevant substances emitted from ships of 100 GT and above, engaged in international transport.
Marine Environment Protection Committee – 63rd session, February/March 2012
MEPC 63 adopted the following four important guidelines aimed at supporting implementation of the mandatory measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from international shipping, paving the way for the regulations on EEDI and SEEMP to be smoothly implemented by Administrations and industry upon their entry into force on 1 January 2013:
.1 resolution MEPC.212(63) – 2012 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships;
.2 resolution MEPC.213(63) – 2012 Guidelines for the development of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP);
.3 resolution MEPC.214(63) – 2012 Guidelines on survey and certification of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI); and
.4 resolution MEPC.215(63) – Guidelines for calculation of reference lines for use with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).
MEPC 63 also continued its discussion on Market-Based Measures for GHG emissions from international shipping.
Marine Environment Protection Committee – 62nd session, July 2011
The Committee considered and adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI for inclusion of regulations on energy efficiency for ships (resolution
MEPC.203(62)), which are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013 upon their deemed acceptance on 1 July 2012. The amendments to MARPOL Annex VI – Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships, add a new chapter 4 to Annex VI on Regulations on energy efficiency for ships making the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) mandatory for new ships and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships in operation. The new regulations apply to all merchant ships of 400 gross tonnage and above regardless of the national flag they fly or the nationality of the owner.
A work plan was agreed by the Committee to develop further the guidelines related to EEDI and SEEMP and to include development of the remaining EEDI and SEEMP related guidelines and an EEDI framework for ship types and sizes and propulsion systems not covered by the current EEDI requirements. For that purposed it was also agreed by the Committee to hold an Intersessional Meeting of the Working Group on Energy Efficiency Measures. The Intersessional Meeting will take place January 2012 and its report should be submitted to MEPC 63 (February/March 2012).
Due to time constraints, MEPC 62 agreed to postpone the consideration of Market-Based Measures (MBMs), UNFCCC related matters and a possible reduction target for international shipping to the next MEPC session (MEPC 63 in February/March 2012).
Third Intersessional Meeting of IMO’s Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from ships, March 2011
The Intersessional Meeting held extensive exchange of views on issues related to the desirability of MBMs providing: certainty in emissions reductions or carbon price; revenues for mitigation, adaptation and capacity building activities in developing countries; incentives for technological and operational improvements in shipping; and offsetting opportunities.
The Intersessional Meeting concluded that no incompatibilities existed between IMO establishing an MBM for international shipping, for the purpose of reducing GHG from the sector, and customary international law as depicted in UNCLOS; and that a further impact study was urgently needed, that it should build on the MBM-EG study, and should address both the positive and negative impacts for developing countries, including possible costs if no action was taken by international shipping. It also agreed also that further studies would be more meaningful and comprehensive when proposals are more detailed and matured, and it therefore urged MBM proponents to fully develop their proposals in the shortest possible time.
The Intersessional Meeting reported to MEPC 62 in accordance to its Terms of Reference, related to: the grouping of the MBMs; the strengths and weaknesses of the groups; their relation to relevant international conventions; and possible impacts.
Marine Environment Protection Committee - 61st session, September/October 2010
Although decisions as to how to proceed with the next step of IMO’s climate change strategy were not reached by consensus, the Committee made progress on all three elements of its work, namely technical, operational and MBMs.
Having considered means by which technical and operational measures could be introduced in the Organization’s regulatory regime, the Committee noted the intention of some States party to MARPOL Annex VI to request the Secretary–General to circulate proposed amendments to that Annex, to make mandatory for new ships, the EEDI and the SEEMP, both of which have already been disseminated for voluntary use. The circulated draft amendments would then be considered by the Committee’s next session with a view to adoption under MARPOL Annex VI. The Committee also noted, however, that some other States did not support the circulation of the proposed amendments.
The Committee also held an extensive debate on how to progress the development of suitable MBMs for international shipping, following the submission of a comprehensive report by an Expert Group, which had carried a feasibility study and impact assessment of several possible MBMs submitted by governments and observer organizations. The Committee agreed to hold an Intersessional Meeting of the working group on GHG emissions from ships in March 2011, tasking the group with providing an opinion on the compelling need and purpose of MBMs as a possible mechanism to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and further evaluating the proposed MBMs considered by the expert group, including the impact of the proposed MBMs on, among others, international trade, the maritime sector of developing countries, least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS), as well as the corresponding environmental benefits.
Marine Environment Protection Committee – 60th session,
More work needed despite GHG progress, IMO Committee concludes.
The Committee concluded that more work needed to be done before completing its consideration of the proposed mandatory application of technical and operational measures designed to regulate and reduce emissions of GHGs from international shipping.
The Committee agreed to establish an intersessional Working Group to build on the significant progress that had been made during the meeting on technical and operational measures to increase the energy efficiency of ships. The Working Group reported back to the MEPC 61 (September 2010).
Although the meeting was able to prepare draft text on mandatory requirements for the EEDI for new vessels and on the SEEMP for all ships in operation, the Committee noted in particular, that, among other things, issues concerning ship size, target dates and reduction rate in relation to the EEDI requirements all required finalization.
The Committee agreed on the basic concept that a vessel’s attained EEDI shall be equal or less (e.g. more efficient) than the required EEDI, and that the required EEDI shall be drawn up based on EEDI baselines and reduction rates yet to be agreed. The Committee noted guidelines for calculating the EEDI baselines using data from existing ships in the Lloyd’s Register Fairplay database.
With regard to MBMs, the Committee agreed to establish an Expert Group on the subject to undertake a feasibility study and impact assessment of the various proposals submitted for an MBM for international maritime transport – again, reporting back to MEPC 61.
Marine Environment Protection Committee - 59th session, July 2009
The Committee agreed to disseminate a package of interim and voluntary technical and operational measures to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping; and also agreed a work plan for further consideration, at future meetings, of proposed MBMs to provide incentives for the shipping industry.
The agreed measures were intended to be used for trial purposes until
MEPC 60 (March 2010), when they will be refined, as necessary, with a view to facilitating decisions on their scope of application and enactment. The measures include:
- interim guidelines on the method of calculation, and voluntary verification, of the EEDI for new ships, which is intended to stimulate innovation and technical development of all the elements influencing the energy efficiency of a ship from its design phase; and
- guidance on the development of a SEEMP, for new and existing ships, which incorporates best practices for the fuel efficient operation of ships; as well as guidelines for voluntary use of the EEOI for new and existing ships, which enables operators to measure the fuel efficiency of a ship.
The Committee held an in-depth discussion on MBMs and agreed a work plan for its further consideration at MEPC 60 (March 2010), building on discussions and submissions to date. The purpose of MBMs was: climate change mitigation and adaptation activities; research and development; offsetting of emissions; and serving as an incentive for the industry to invest in more fuel-efficient technologies.
The Committee noted that there was a general preference for the greater part of any funds generated by an MBM under the auspices of IMO to be used for climate change purposes in developing countries through existing or new funding mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or other international organizations.
The outcome of the MEPC on GHG emissions from ships was reported to
COP 15, which was to consider a successor instrument to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC. The Committee agreed that any regulatory scheme applied to GHG emissions from international shipping should be developed and enacted by IMO as the most competent international body.
Speaking at the close of the MEPC, IMO Secretary-General
Efthimios E. Mitropoulos congratulated delegates for driving forward the Committee's agreed action plan on GHG emissions from ships, which "deserves to be recognized as compelling proof that IMO can, indeed, be entrusted with the regulation of international shipping on the issue of climatic change - an unequivocal message that needs to be heard, and fully understood, all over the globe.
Mr. Mitropoulos reiterated his belief that "the time for apportioning blame as to who is responsible for the state of the planet has passed. Now it is time for action. Developed and developing countries, industrialized and emerging economies alike are left with no option other than to get together and, together, work out solutions that will serve well the good cause of reversing the route to planet destruction."
Second intersessional meeting of IMO’s Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from ships, March 2009
The Intersessional Meeting made significant progress in the development of measures to enhance energy efficiency in international shipping, and thereby reduce GHG emissions. The Intersessional Meeting reported to MEPC 59 (July 2009).
The Intersessional Meeting was attended by more than 200 experts from all over the world and concentrated on the technical and operational measures to reduce GHG from ships - two of the three pillars of IMO's GHG work. The third pillar, possible MBMs, was debated in depth at MEPC 59.
The main focus was the further refinement of the EEDI for new ships, on the basis of experience gained through its trial application over the past six months. The EEDI is meant to stimulate innovation and technical development of all the elements influencing the energy efficiency of a ship, thus making it possible to design and build intrinsically energy efficient ships of the future.
The group also considered how to improve the EEOI, which enables operators to measure the fuel efficiency of an existing ship and, therefore, to gage the effectiveness of any measures adopted to reduce energy consumption. The EEOI has been applied by Member States and the shipping industry, on a trial basis and since 2005, to hundreds of ships in operation; it provides a figure, expressed in grams of CO2 per tonne mile, for the efficiency of a specific ship, enabling comparison of its energy or fuel efficiency to similar ships.
The experts at the meeting debated over a draft SEMP that had been developed by a coalition of industry organizations and agreed to forward it to MEPC 59 for further consideration. The draft SEMP incorporates guidance on best practices, which include improved voyage planning, speed and power optimization, optimized ship handling, and improved fleet management and cargo handling, as well as energy management for individual ships.
Marine Environment Protection Committee – 58th session,
In the context of the ongoing efforts of the international community to address the phenomena of climate change and global warming (in particular through the mechanisms of UNFCCC), and in the light of the mandate given to IMO in the Kyoto Protocol to address the limitation or reduction of GHG emissions from ships, the Committee maintained momentum on the issue and made substantive progress in developing technical and operational measures to address such emissions, including the development of an energy efficiency design index for new ships and an energy efficiency operational index, with associated guidelines for both; an efficiency management plan suitable for all ships; and a voluntary code on best practice in energy efficient ship operations.
The Committee approved the usage of the draft Interim Guidelines on the method of calculation of the EEDI for new ships, for calculation/trial purposes with a view to further refinement and improvement.
The Committee also held a discussion on MBMs, and agreed to further discuss such measures at MEPC 59 (July 2009).
For its deliberations on these matters, the Committee received information on Phase 1 of the updating of the 2000 IMO Study on GHG emissions from ships, which estimated emissions of CO2 from international shipping both from activity data and from international fuel statistics.
The resulting consensus estimate for 2007 CO2 emissions from international shipping amounted to 843 million tonnes, or 2.7% of global CO2 emissions, as compared to the 1.8% estimate in the 2000 IMO study. The Phase 1 updating estimated future emissions from international shipping based on global developments outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and, in the absence of future regulations on CO2 emissions from ships, such emissions were predicted in the base scenarios to increase by a factor of 2.4 to 3.0 by 2050. For 2020, the base scenario predicts increases ranging from 1.1 to 1.3, taking into account significant efficiency improvements resulting from expected long-term increases in energy prices.
The Committee further discussed the application of measures to reduce or limit GHG emissions from ships; in particular whether such measures should be mandatory or voluntary for all States.
Several delegations spoke in favour of the common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) principle under the UNFCCC. In their view, any mandatory regime aiming at reducing GHG emissions from ships should be applicable to the countries listed in Annex I to the UNFCCC only.
However, several other delegations expressed the opinion that, given the global mandate of IMO as regards the safety of ships and the protection of the marine environment from ship emissions, the IMO regulatory framework on the GHG issue should be applicable to all ships, irrespective of the flags they fly. It was stressed that, as three-quarters of the world's merchant fleet fly the flag of countries not listed in Annex I to the UNFCCC, any regulatory regime on the reduction of GHGs from shipping would be ineffective for the purpose of combating climate change, if it were made applicable only to Annex I countries.
First Intersessional Meeting of IMO’s Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from ships, June 2008
The 1st Intersessional Meeting was held in Oslo, Norway (23 to 27 June 2008) and made progress towards developing a mandatory regime to control GHG emissions from international shipping . The meeting was attended by more than 210 delegates, comprising experts from all over the world.
The Intersessional Meeting had been tasked with developing the technical basis for reduction mechanisms that may form part of a future IMO regime to control GHG emissions from international shipping, and with developing drafts of the actual reduction mechanisms themselves. The Intersessional Meeting reported to MEPC 58 (October 2008).
In particular, the Intersessional Meeting made progress on developing a mandatory CO2 Design Index for ships and an interim CO2 operational index, and held extensive discussions on best practices for voluntary implementation and economic instruments with GHG-reduction potential.
Mandatory CO2 Design Index
The Intersessional Meeting developed further the formula and methodology, as well as draft text for the associated regulatory framework, for a proposed mandatory CO2 Design Index for new ships. Once finalized, the index will serve as a fuel-efficiency tool at the design stage of ships, enabling the fuel efficiency of different ship designs, or a specific design with different input such as design speed, choice of propeller or the use of waste heat recovery systems, to be compared.
The design index will contain a required minimum level of fuel efficiency related to a baseline, which will be established based on fuel efficiency for ships delivered between 1995 and 2005. The actual minimum level, and the frequency with which the limit will be tightened were considered by MEPC 58 (October).
The Intersessional Meeting thoroughly considered the different elements in the formula to avoid so-called "paragraph ships", meaning future ship designs optimized for certain conditions but which do not actually deliver greater fuel efficiency. The different correction factors to make the formula relevant for all ship types were given extensive consideration, as was verification of the design index, as there might not be a Flag state dedicated to the ship at the design stage.
Member States and observer organizations were encouraged to test the robustness of the agreed draft formula by conducting simulations and submitting the outcome to MEPC 58.
Interim CO2 operational index
The Intersessional Meeting considered the interim CO2 operational index and identified all areas where changes have been proposed. The interim CO2 operational index was adopted by MEPC 53 in July 2005 and has been used by a number of flag States and industry organizations to determine the fuel efficiency of their ship operations. IMO has received the outcome from thousands of trials and a large amount of data exists.
The interim CO2 operational index has been used to establish a common approach for trials on voluntary CO2 emission indexing, enabling shipowners and operators to evaluate the performance of their fleet with regard to CO2 emissions. As the amount of CO2 emitted from a ship is directly related to the consumption of fuel oil, CO2 indexing also provides useful information on a ship's performance with regard to fuel efficiency. The draft CO2 operational index was put forward to MEPC 58.
Best practices for voluntary implementation
The Intersessional Meeting reviewed best practices for voluntary implementation and developed further guidance for the ship industry on fuel efficient operation of ships. The meeting considered best practices regarding a range of measures identified by earlier sessions of the MEPC and for how they can be implemented by ship builders, operators, charterers, ports and other relevant partners to make all possible efforts to reduce GHG emissions. Operational measures have been identified as having significant reduction potential that often can be achieved without large investments, but would require co-operation with other stakeholders.
Economic instruments with GHG-reduction potential
The Intersessional Meeting had a thorough and in-depth discussion related to the further development of different economic instruments with GHG-reduction potential including, inter alia, a global levy on fuel used by international shipping and the possible introduction of emission trading schemes for ships. Proposals for both open emission trading schemes, where ships will be required to purchase allowances in an open market in line with power stations or steel mills, and closed schemes, where the trading will only be among ships, were considered.
"Grandfathering" or auctioning of the allowances, how the cap is set and by whom, the management of any system, the banking of allowances and the impact on world trade, as well as legal aspects, were also among the issues considered. The meeting had an extensive exchange of views, paving the way for further discussion at MEPC 58 on the possible introduction of market-based measures to provide incentives for the shipping industry to invest in fuel-efficient ships.
Marine Environment Protection Committee – 53rd session, July 2005
MEPC 53 (July 2005) approved interim guidelines for Voluntary Ship CO2 Emission Indexing for Use in Trials for the purposes of developing a simple system that could be used voluntarily by ship operators during a trial period.