IMO continues to contribute to the global fight against climate change, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13, to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
In 2018, IMO adopted an Initial Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships, setting out a vision which confirms IMO's commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and to phasing them out as soon as possible.
In October 2018 (MEPC 73), IMO approved a follow-up programme, intended to be used as a planning tool in meeting the timelines identified in the Initial IMO Strategy up to 2023. Further, the Initial Strategy envisaged that a revised strategy would be adopted by 2023.
In July 2023 (MEPC 80) IMO adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships in accordance with the agreed programme of follow-up actions.
A detailed historical overview of IMO's work can be found here. The first resolution to address CO2 emissions (resolution 8) was adopted in 1997.
What does the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy say?
The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy represents a framework for Member States, setting out the future vision for international shipping, the levels of ambition to reduce GHG emissions and guiding principles; and includes candidate mid- and long-term further measures with possible timelines and their impacts on States. The strategy also identifies barriers and supportive measures including capacity building, technical cooperation and research and development (R&D).
The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy envisages, in particular, a reduction in carbon intensity of international shipping (to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work), as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030. The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy also includes a new level of ambition relating to the uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources which are to represent at least 5%, striving for 10%, of the energy used by international shipping by 2030.
The strategy includes a specific reference to 'pursuing efforts towards phasing them out as called for in the Vision consistent with the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement'.
What is the vision and what are the levels of ambition in the Strategy?
The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy includes the following:
IMO remains committed to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, aims to phase them out as soon as possible, while promoting, in the context of this Strategy, a just and equitable transition.
Levels of ambition
The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy identifies levels of ambition for the international shipping sector noting that technological innovation and the global introduction of alternative fuels and/or energy sources for international shipping will be integral to achieve the overall ambition. Reviews should take into account updated emission estimates, emissions reduction options for international shipping, and the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) and future IMO GHG inventories and studies, as relevant, to assess progress towards reaching net-zero GHG emissions of international shipping.
The levels of ambition and indicative checkpoints should take into account the well-to-wake GHG emissions of marine fuels as addressed in the Guidelines on Life cycle GHG intensity of marine fuels (LCA guidelines) developed by the Organization with the overall objective of reducing GHG emissions within the boundaries of the energy system of international shipping and preventing a shift of emissions to other sectors.
Levels of ambition directing the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy are as follows:
.1 carbon intensity of the ship to decline through further improvement of the energy efficiency for new ships
to review with the aim of strengthening the energy efficiency design requirements for ships
.2 carbon intensity of international shipping to decline
to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030,compared to 2008;
.3 uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources to increase
uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources to represent at least 5% striving for 10% of the energy used by international shipping by 2030; and
.4 GHG emissions from international shipping to reach net zero
to peak GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible and to reach net-zero GHG emissions by or around, i.e. close to, 2050, taking into account different national circumstances, whilst pursuing efforts towards phasing them out as called for in the Vision consistent with the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.
The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy also introduces indicative checkpoints to reach net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping, namely:
.1 to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 20%, striving for 30%, by 2030, compared to 2008; and
.2 to reduce the total anual GHG emissions from international shipping by atleast 70%, striving for 80%, by 2040, compared to 2008.
Note: The Paris Agreement on climate change was agreed in 2015 by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and entered into force in 2016. The Paris Agreement central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement does not include international shipping, but IMO, as the regulatory body for the industry, is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
IMO continues to work on refining guidance and on the implementation of the regulations, through the MEPC.
Implementing the 2018 Initial IMO GHG Strategy
The Initial Strategy contained short-term GHG reduction measures to be finalized and agreed by the Committee between 2018 and 2023.
MEPC 76 adopted in June 2021 a short-term GHG reduction measure via amendments to MARPOL Annex VI. The measure consists of combined mandatory technical and operational requirements which entered into force in November 2022 and is aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of international shipping in 2030 by at least 40%, compared to 2008 levels.
A review of the mandatory goal-based technical and operational measures to reduce carbon intensity of international shipping (the "short-term GHG reduction measures") shall be completed by 1 January 2026.
Which candidate mid-term measures are included in the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy?
The effective implementation of 2023 IMO GHG Strategy will require all ships to give full and complete effect, regardless of flag, to implementing mandatory measures.
In accordance with the timelines set out in the Strategy and the Work Plan to progress development of mid- and long-term GHG reduction measures (approved at MEPC 76), a basket of candidate measure(s), delivering on the reduction targets, should be developed and finalized comprised of both:
.1 a technical element, namely a goal-based marine fuel standard regulating the phased reduction of the marine fuel's GHG intensity; and
.2 an economic element, on the basis of a maritime GHG emissions pricing mechanism.
The candidate economic elements will be assessed observing specific criteria to be considered in the comprehensive impact assessment, with a view to facilitating the finalization of the basket of measures.
Potential synergies with other existing measures such as the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) will be considered, in particular regarding incentives for energy efficiency and for the adoption of better operational practices in the shipping value chain or other technologies to reduce emissions from ships.
.1 the Secretariat to undertake annual IMO GHG emission and carbon intensity estimates using the available data from the IMO DCS and other relevant sources; and other studies to inform policy decisions:
.2 development of a feedback mechanism to enable lessons learned on implementation of measures to be collated and shared through a possible information exchange on best practice;
.3 further development of the LCA guidelines;
.4 undertake a regulatory assessment of safety aspects associated with reducing GHG emissions in accordance with this Strategy and to develop a road map to support the safe delivery of the Strategy;
.5 consider and analyse measures to address emissions of methane and nitrous oxide and further enhance measures to address emissions of volatile organic compounds;
.6 incentives for first movers to develop and take up new technologies; and
.7 consider and analyse measures to encourage port developments and activities globally to facilitate reduction of GHG emissions from shipping, including provision of ship and shoreside/onshore power supply from renewable sources,infrastructure to support supply of zero or near-zero GHG emission fuels and/or energy sources, and to further optimize the logistic chain and its planning, including ports.
What is the procedure for assessing the impacts on States of candidate measures?
The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy recognizes that the impacts on States of a measure should be assessed and taken into account as appropriate before adoption of the measure(s) in accordance with the Revised procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures (MEPC.1/Circ.885/Rev.1)
Particular attention should be paid to the needs of developing countries, especially small island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs). When assessing impacts on States the impact of a measure should be considered, as appropriate, inter alia, in the following terms:
.1 geographic remoteness of and connectivity to main markets;
.2 cargo value and type;
.3 transport dependency;
.4 transport costs;
.5 food security;
.6 disaster response;
.7 cost-effectiveness; and
.8 socio-economic progress and development.
.9 disproportionately negative impacts should be assessed and addressed, as appropriate.
MEPC 79 (May 2019) approved the Revised Procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures for reduction of GHG emissions from ships (MEPC.1/Circ.885/Rev.1) . The procedure identifies four steps:
Step 1: initial impact assessment, to be submitted as part of the initial proposal to the Committee for candidate measures;
Step 2: submission of commenting document(s), if any;
Step 3: comprehensive response, if requested by commenting document(s); and
Step 4: comprehensive impact assessment.
Impact assessments should be evidence-based and should take into account, as appropriate, analysis tools and models, such as, cost-effectiveness analysis tools, e.g. maritime transport cost models, trade flows models, impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP); updated Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs); and economic trade models, transport models and combined trade-transport models. It is recognized that some Member States such as SIDS and LDCs may require assistance for the collection of data and analysis of potential impacts.
Once a measure is adopted and enacted, the Committee should keep its implementation and impacts under review, upon request of Member States, so that any necessary adjustments may be made.
Following the lessons-learned exercise of the comprehensive impact assessment of the short-term measure completed by MEPC 79, the Revised Procedure contains an appendix which provides additional guidance on several process and methodological elements with the aim to enhancing robustness and transparency of future comprehensive impact assessments of candidate GHG reduction measures.
How can ports and shipping cooperate to reduce emissions from shipping?
MEPC 74 (May 2019) adopted resolution MEPC.323(74) on Invitation to Member States to encourage voluntary cooperation between the port and shipping sectors to contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships.
This could include regulatory, technical, operational and economic actions, such as the provision of: Onshore Power Supply (preferably from renewable sources); safe and efficient bunkering of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels; incentives promoting sustainable low-carbon and zero-carbon shipping; and support for the optimization of port calls including facilitation of just-in-time arrival of ships.
MEPC 79 (December 2022) revised the above resolution as resolution MEPC RESOLUTION.366(79) to include, inter alia, addition of a reference to "facilitating voluntary cooperation through the whole value chain, including ports, to create favourable conditions to reduce GHG emissions from ships through shipping routes and maritime hubs".
What about biofuels?
Biofuels could be one of the options. If we are to achieve the goals set out in the initial strategy it will be important to develop and implement measures suitable for the existing fleet.
The advantage of such biofuels is their 'drop-in' capability to be used in the existing fleet meaning that they can readily replace hydrocarbon liquid fuels. However, it is an imperative that such biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstocks and using sustainable energy supplies. There are also wider considerations, such as availability, and sustainability of the production of biofuel and so on.
MEPC 80 approved MEPC.1/Circ.905 on Interim guidance on the use of biofuels under regulations 26, 27 and 28 of MARPOL Annex VI (DCS and CII).
Which new fuels will be needed?
It is clear that the global introduction of alternative fuels and/or energy sources for international shipping will be integral to achieve the overall ambitions set out in IMO's initial strategy for reducing GHG emissions from international shipping.
There is room for all options to be considered, including electric and hybrid power, hydrogen and other fuel types.
There is also a lot that can be done to improve energy efficiency of ships through operational measures. The IMO-industry alliance (GIA) is looking at how the barriers to just-in-time ship operation can be mitigated. Currently, many ships expend hours or days waiting outside ports and running their diesel engines – just-in-time operations could significantly cut emissions.
Is zero-carbon shipping going to become a reality?
In the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy, there is a clear ambition to pursue efforts towards phasing out GHG emissions from international shipping entirely, by the middle of this century. This has to become a reality.
As United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said, "We need to put the brake on deadly greenhouse gas emissions and drive climate action…. The world is counting on all of us to rise to the challenge before it's too late"
Research and development will be crucial, as the targets agreed in the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy will not be met using fossil fuels. There is a need to make zero-carbon ships more attractive and to direct investments towards innovative sustainable technologies and alternative fuels.
The 2023 Strategy sets out a timeline towards adoption of the basket of measures and adoption of the updated 2028 IMO GHG Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships:
MEPC 81 (Spring 2024) - Interim report on Comprehensive impact assessment of the basket of candidate mid-term measures/Finalization of basket of measures
MEPC 82 (Autumn 2024) - Finalized report on Comprehensive impact assessment of the basket of candidate mid-term measures
MEPC 83 (Spring 2025) - Review of the short-term measure to be completed by 1 January 2026
MEPC 84 (Spring 2026) - Approval of measures / Review of the short-term measure (EEXI and CII) to be completed by 1 January 2026
Extraordinary one or two-day MEPC (six months after MEPC 83 in Autumn 2025) - Adoption of measures
MEPC 85 (Autumn 2026)
16 months after adoption of measures (2027) - Entry into force of measures
MEPC 86 (Summer 2027) - Initiate the review of the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy
MEPC 87 (Spring 2028)
MEPC 88 (Autumn 2028) - Finalization of the review of the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy with a view to adoption of the 2028 IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships.
What needs to happen over the next two or three decades?
Some of the things that have been identified in the GHG strategy include considering and analysing measures to encourage port developments and activities globally to facilitate reduction of GHG emissions from shipping including the provision of ship and shore-side/on-shore power supply from renewable sources and developing infrastructure to support supply of zero or near-zero GHG emission fuels and/or energy sources.
The need to further optimize the logistic chain and its planning, along with the initiation of research and development activities addressing marine propulsion, alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels, and innovative technologies to further enhance the energy efficiency of ships.
Shipping will need new low/zero-carbon fuels to achieve the levels of ambition of the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy.
According to projections in the Fourth IMO GHG Study 2020, about 64% of the total amount of CO2 reduction from shipping in 2050 will be achieved using alternative low/zero-carbon fuels.
The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy envisages that 'the development of the basket of candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures should take into account the well-to-wake GHG emissions of marine fuels as addressed in the LCA guidelines developed by the Organization with the overall objective of reducing GHG emissions within the boundaries of the energy system of international shipping and preventing a shift of emissions to other sectors'.
The life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology
Candidate low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels for shipping have diverse production pathways (for example, different generations of biofuels, hydrogen-based fuels, etc.) entailing significant differences in their overall environmental footprint.
The effective transition to alternative low- and zero-emission fuels requires the development of a robust international framework to assess the GHG intensity and sustainability of alternative low- and zero-emission fuels in a scientific and holistic manner.
The life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology refers to the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the fuel production to the end-use by a ship ("Well-to-Wake"); it results from the combination of a "Well-to-Tank" part (from primary production to carriage of the fuel in a ship's tank, also known as upstream emissions) and a "Tank-to-Wake" (also called "Tank-to Propeller") part (from the ship's fuel tank to the exhaust, also known as downstream emissions).
MEPC 80 also adopted by RESOLUTION MEPC.376(80) the "Guidelines on Life Cycle GHG Intensity of Marine Fuels" (LCA Guidelines), which set out methods for calculating well-to-wake and tank-to-wake GHG emissions for all fuels and other energy carriers (e.g. electricity) used on board a ship.
These guidelines will be kept under review and developed further in the coming years, in particular focusing on default emissions factors, sustainability criteria, fuel certification and handling of on-board carbon capture.
Which global projects support the GHG strategy?
IMO initiatives supporting the reduction of GHG emissions from ships include
.1 The Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) is designed to assist Governments which lack the technical knowledge and resources that are needed to operate a shipping industry safely and efficiently. Support for IMO's GHG-related activities under the ITCP is a clear priority for the Organization. For 2022-2023, a dedicated global programme "Reducing atmospheric emissions from ships and in ports and effective implementation of MARPOL Annex VI and the Initial IMO GHG Strategy" was designed to assist Member States with the implementation of the Initial IMO Strategy, thereby increasing energy efficiency measures for ships, as well as reducing atmospheric pollution from ships, including when in ports.
.2 MEPC 74 (May 2019) agreed to establish a voluntary multi-donor trust fund ("GHG TC-Trust Fund"), to provide a dedicated source of financial support for technical cooperation and capacity development activities to support the implementation of the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (MEPC 74/18/Add.1, annex 17). The resources of the Trust Fund include voluntary contributions from IMO Member States , UN agencies, international organizations and other entities who have expressed support for the Initial IMO Strategy.
.3 With support from the European Union, the Global Maritime Technologies Cooperation Centres (MTCC) Network (GMN) project (approximately $11 million, 2016-2022) established five MTCCs in China (MTCC Asia), Fiji (MTCC Pacific), Kenya (MTCC Africa), Panama (MTCC Latin America) and Trinidad and Tobago (MTCC Caribbean). Plans are now being finalized for a GMN Phase II project for the five MTCCs to continue their work to support maritime decarbonization in the respective regions and to be linked to other IMO projects and initiatives. Phase II is to pay particular attention to the delivery of smaller scale (for example, ships retrofitting) pilot demonstration projects, with a focus on the needs of developing countries, in particular LDCs and SIDS.
.4 With support from Norway, the Green Voyage 2050 project (approximately $7.1 million, 2019-2023) is currently supporting countries to undertake assessments of maritime emissions in the national context, develop policy frameworks and National Action Plans (NAPs) to address GHG emissions from ships, and draft legislation to implement MARPOL Annex VI into national law. Partnering countries are also supported in the identification and implementation of low- and zero-carbon pilot projects on board ships and in ports. Phase 1 of the project is expected to terminate in December 2023 and a new phase is also envisioned sought to ensuring that efforts can be further continued both in relation to scaled-up pilot projects and NAP development.
.5 The GHG-SMART Programme (Sustainable Maritime Transport Training Programme to Support the Implementation of the GHG Strategy) project ($2.5 million, 2020-2025), funded by the Republic of Korea, is a training programme to support the implementation of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships by developing capacity in LDCs and SIDS. This is a series of annual training programmes consisting of a comprehensive training online, followed by individual training plans, a practical training and study visit, combined with an opportunity of two trainees (one female and one male) to further benefit from a World Maritime University (WMU) scholarship.
.6 The GloFouling Partnerships project (approximately $7 million, 2018-2025) is part of the wider efforts by IMO, in collaboration with UNDP and GEF, to improve biofouling management and protect marine ecosystems from the negative effects of invasive aquatic species (IAS). By supporting the implementation of the IMO 2011 Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling, this project also contributes to the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. The project has developed and published in 2022 a study: Analysing the Impact of Marine Biofouling on the Energy Efficiency of Ships and the GHG Abatement Potential of Biofouling Management Measures.
.7 The TEST Biofouling (Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies) project ($4 million, 2022-2025), funded by Norway, aims to assist developing countries to build their knowledge on control and management of biofouling and showcase effective approaches to biofouling management and the mitigation of environmental risks associated with the transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species (IAS) through biofouling by means of demonstration projects at both regional and country level. The project focuses on testing novel technologies and new sustainable methods of biofouling management, which, in line with the above study, indirectly contributes to reducing GHG emissions.
.8 The IMO CARES (Coordinated Actions to Reduce Emissions from Shipping) Foundation Project, project (approximately $1.5 million, 2022-2024), funded by Saudi Arabia, started its implementation phase in early 2023, with the ultimate objective to help link the global North and global South for the identification and trial of ready for market technology solutions, technology transfer, technology diffusion and uptake activities, pilot demonstration projects and green financing initiatives. This project will assist the maritime sector in developing countries in their transition towards a low-carbon future with key involvement of the MTCCs at a regional level.
.9 The Future Fuels and Technology for Low- and Zero-carbon Shipping Project (FFT project) (approximately $1.2 million, 2022-2024) is a partnership project between the Republic of Korea and IMO, designed to support GHG reduction from international shipping by providing technical analysis to the Organization in support of policy discussions held in the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).
.10 The IMO-UNEP-Norway Innovation Forum (approximately $650,000, 2020-2023) identified as championing innovation to accelerate the transition of the marine sector towards a zero- and low-emission future. Its aim is to promote innovation by providing a global platform to exchange best practices and fill necessary gaps by gathering ideas and latest developments from all competent international policy makers.
Where can I download the strategy?
Download the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships here.
Does IMO participate in the UN COP climate change conferences?
IMO participates in the UN Climate Change Conferences, providing updates to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) under agenda item 10 on Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport. Read more on the UNFCCC website here.
Although shipping was not included in the final text of the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, IMO has set itself a long-standing mandate to contribute to the fight against climate change by addressing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.
What previous work has been undertaken by the Organization to address GHG emissions from ships?
.1 MEPC 62 (July 2011) adopted resolution MEPC.203(62) on Inclusion of regulations on energy efficiency for ships in MARPOL Annex VI introducing mandatory technical (EEDI) and operational (SEEMP) measures for the energy efficiency of ships;
.2 MEPC 65 (May 2013) adopted resolution MEPC.229(65) on Promotion of technical cooperation and transfer of technology relating to the improvement of energy efficiency of ships, to provide technical assistance to Member States to enable cooperation in the transfer of energy efficient technologies, in particular to developing countries;
.3 MEPC 67 (October 2014) approved the Third IMO GHG Study 2014, estimating that GHG emissions from international shipping in 2012 accounted for some 2.2% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions and that such emissions could grow by between 50% and 250% by 2050;
.4 MEPC 70 (October 2016) adopted, by resolution MEPC.278(70), amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to introduce the data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships, containing mandatory requirements for ships to record and report their fuel oil consumption, and further adopted the Road map for developing a comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships (the Road Map). Ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above (representing approximately 85% of the total GHG emissions from international shipping) are required to collect consumption data for each type of fuel oil they use, as well as other, additional, specified data including proxies for "transport work";
.5 MEPC 72 (April 2018) adopted, by resolution MEPC.304(72), the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, setting out a vision which confirmed IMO's commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and to phasing them out as soon as possible, and agreed to keep the Initial Strategy under review, with a view to adoption of a Revised Strategy in 2023;
.6 MEPC 73 (October 2018), IMO approved the Programme of follow-up actions of the Initial IMO Strategy, intended to be used as a planning tool in meeting the timelines identified in the Initial IMO Strategy;
.7 MEPC 74 (May 2019) approved MEPC.1/Circ.855 on Procedure for assessing the impacts on States of candidate measures; adopted resolution MEPC.323(74) on Inviting Member States to encourage voluntary cooperation between the port and shipping sectors to contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships, as revised by MEPC 79 by resolution MEPC.366(79); and agreed to establish a voluntary multi-donor trust fund ("GHG TC-Trust Fund"), to provide a dedicated source of financial support for technical cooperation and capacity development activities to support the implementation of the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships; MEPC 80/WP.12 Annex 1, page 14
.8 MEPC 75 (November 2020) adopted resolution MEPC.327(75) on Encouraging Member States to develop and submit voluntary National Action Plans to address GHG emissions from ships, as revised by MEPC 79 by resolution MEPC.367(79); approved the Fourth IMO GHG Study 2020; and adopted, by resolution MEPC.324(75), amendments to MARPOL Annex VI advancing and strengthening EEDI Phase 3 requirements for several ship types;
.9 MEPC 76 (June 2021) adopted, by resolution MEPC. 328(76), amendments to MARPOL Annex VI introducing the short-term GHG reduction measure containing a technical Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), an operational Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and an enhanced Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP); adopted a series of seven technical guidelines supporting the EEXI and CII frameworks; approved a Work plan to progress development of mid- and long-term GHG reduction measures in line with the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships and its Programme of follow-up actions;
.10 MEPC 77 (November 2021) agreed to initiate the revision of the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, recognizing the need to strengthen the ambition during the revision process; and adopted resolution MEPC.342(77) on Protecting the Arctic from shipping Black Carbon emissions recognizing that Black Carbon was a potent short-lived contributor to climate warming; and
.11 MEPC 78 (June 2022) adopted a series of 10 technical guidelines to support the implementation of the short-term GHG reduction measure;
.12 Council 128 (November 2022) endorsed the finalized terms of reference of a Voluntary Multi-Donor Trust Fund to Facilitate the Participation of Developing Countries, Especially Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in IMO GHG Meetings, and agreed to review the terms of reference, based on the experience of the first full year of operations of the Fund, no later than at the 130th session of the Council;
.13 MEPC 79 (December 2022) adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to revise the data collection system for fuel oil consumption for the implementation of the EEXI and the CII framework, approved a Revised procedure for assessing the impacts on States of candidate measures (MEPC.1/Circ.885/Rev.1) and adopted resolutions MEPC.366(79) and MEPC.367(79) on Invitation to Member States to encourage voluntary cooperation between the port and the shipping sectors to contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships and Encouragement of Member States to develop and submit voluntary National Action Plans (NAPs) to address GHG emissions from ships, respectively; and
.14 MEPC 80 (July 2023) adopted resolution MEPC.376(80) on Guidelines on lifecycle GHG intensity of marine fuels (LCA guidelines); initiated the comprehensive impact assessment of the basket of candidate mid-term measures; and adopted resolution MEPC.377(80) on 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (2023 IMO GHG Strategy).
What was the outcome of the Fourth IMO GHG Study?
The Fourth IMO GHG Study was submitted to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in July 2020, as document MEPC 75/7/15 - the study can be downloaded via the IMODOCS website (registration required). Highlights of the Fourth IMO GHG Study were published in March 2021.
The terms of reference for the Fourth IMO GHG Study were agreed by MEPC 74 (May 2019).
The study includes:
Inventory of current global emissions of GHGs and relevant substances emitted from ships of 100 GT and above engaged in international voyages. The inventory should include total annual GHG emission series from 2012 to 2018, or as far as statistical data are available.
GHGs are defined as the six gases initially considered under the UNFCCC process: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The inventory should also include other relevant substances that may contribute to climate change, including Black Carbon (BC).
Estimates of carbon intensity (estimates of world fleet's CO2 emissions per transport work, from 2012 to 2018, or as far as statistical data are available).
Possible estimates of carbon intensity of international shipping for the year 2008 (the baseline year for the levels of ambition identified in the Initial Strategy).
Scenarios for future international shipping emissions 2018-2050
The IMO Fourth GHG study was contracted to a CE Delft-led consortium.
The Steering Committee established to act as a focal point for MEPC, to review and monitor progress and confirm that the Study meets the terms of reference, was composed of the following 13 Member States: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Turkey and the United States. Mr. Harry Conway (Liberia), in his capacity as Vice-Chair of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, acts as the Coordinator of the Steering Committee.
Completed reports and studies:
(The views and conclusions expressed in the studies are those of the authors)
Studies and reports include:
Emissions toolkits: https://greenvoyage2050.imo.org/download-publications/
GMN technical documents: https://gmn.imo.org/technical-documents/
The existing shipping fleet's CO2 efficiency -2015 (study prepared by the UCL Energy Institute) (includes comparison with other freight transport modes)