MEPC 67 approved the Third IMO GHG Study 2014 , providing updated emission estimates for greenhouse gases from ships. According to estimates presented in this study, international shipping emitted 796 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012, that is, about 2.2% of the total global CO2 emissions for that year. By contrast, in 2007, before the global economic downturn, international shipping is estimated to have emitted 885 million tonnes of CO2, that is, 2.8% of the total global CO2 emissions for that year.
IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has given extensive consideration to control of GHG emissions from ships and finalized in July 2009 a package of specific technical and operational reduction measures. In March 2010 MEPC started the consideration of making the technical and operational measures mandatory for all ships irrespective of flag and ownership. This work was completed in July 2011 with the breakthrough adoption of technical measures for new ships and operational reduction measures for all ships, which are, consequently, the first ever mandatory global GHG reduction regime for an entire industry sector. The adopted measures add to MARPOL
Annex VI a new Chapter 4 entitled "Regulations on energy efficiency for ships", making mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships and the Ship Energy Efficiency Plan (SEEMP) for all ships. The regulations entered into force through the tacit acceptance procedure on 1 January 2013 and apply to all ships over 400 gross tonnage and above.
MEPC 70 (October 2016) approved a Roadmap for developing a comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, which foresees an initial GHG reduction strategy to be adopted in 2018.
The Roadmap contains a list of activities, including further IMO GHG studies and significant intersessional work, with relevant timelines and provides for alignment of those new activities with the ongoing work by MEPC on the three-step approach to ship energy efficiency improvements. This alignment provides a way forward to the adoption of a revised strategy in 2023 to include short-, mid-, and long-term further measures, as required, including implementation schedules.
MEPC 70 also agreed to hold a series of intersessional meetings of the working group on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. The first intersessional meeting was held back-to-back with MEPC 71 in June 2017. The second intersessional meeting held in October 2017 made progress in starting to shape the draft initial IMO GHG Strategy. The third intersessional meeting will be held the week before MEPC 72 in April 2018 where the working group is instructed to finalize a draft text of the initial IMO GHG Strategy that MEPC 72 is expected to adopt.