Mid- and long-term GHG reduction measures


Work Plan

MEPC 76 (June 2021) approved the 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. (download Work Plan here).

The Work Plan aims at supporting the achievement of the vision and the levels of ambition agreed in the Initial Strategy and consists of three main phases:

  • Phase I – Collation and initial consideration of proposals for measures in order to be able to understand and compare their main features and implications so as to identify the key issues to consider in relation to each proposed measure, along with considerations of their potential impacts on States in the application of Circular MEPC.1/Circ.885/Rev.1 on the Procedure for assessing Impacts on States of candidate measures. The timeframe for Phase 1 is spring 2021 to spring 2022. 

  • Phase II – Assessment and selection of measure(s) to further develop. Information from Phase I is to be built upon to select the measure(s) to further develop in as a priority. This decision will be based on an assessment of the proposed measures, in particular their feasibility, their effectiveness to deliver the long-term levels of ambition of the Initial Strategy and their potential impacts on States. The time period for Phase II is spring 2022 to spring 2023. Decisions on measures to develop as a priority may be taken in conjunction with the revision of the Initial Strategy.

  • Phase III – Development of (a) measure(s) to be finalized within (an) agreed target date(s). In the case of amending existing legal instruments, amendments will be prepared, as appropriate. In the case of developing a new legal instrument, a framework for consideration by the MEPC will be prepared in order to decide on the way forward. In order to support this process, a detailed outline of the framework supporting information and assessment of how the selected measure(s) will meet the long-term levels of ambition could be undertaken. Phase III target date(s) are to be agreed in conjunction with the IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships.

The implementation of the Work Plan includes the assessment of impacts on States of the proposed measures in accordance with the Procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures set out in Circular MEPC.1/Circ.885/Rev.1, taking into account the outcome of the lessons-learned exercise from the comprehensive impact assessment of the short-term measure. Once a measure is adopted and enacted, implementation and impacts will be kept under review, upon request from Member States, so that any necessary adjustments may be made.

ISWG-GHG 10 (18-22 October 2021) used Phase I of the Work Plan to guide its consideration of possible mid-term GHG reduction measures.

ISWG-GHG 12 (16-20 May 2022) considered in detail concrete proposals for mid- and long-term measures and associated impact assessments in the context of Phase I of the Work plan, including further consideration of those considered by ISWG GHG 10 and MEPC 77, as well as the proposal to establish an International Maritime Research Board.

MEPC 78 (6-10 June 2022) approved the further development under Phase II of the Work plan of a "basket of candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures", integrating both various technical and carbon pricing elements while recognizing the necessary flexibility. The Committee requested ISWG-GHG to continue to advance the development of the basket of candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures.

(ISWG-GHG 13 (5-9 December 2022) made progress in considering mid-term GHG reduction measures noting increasing support for a possible combination of a technical element and an economic element within a basket of measures . The Committee requested ISWG-GHG to continue its consideration of the proposed measure with a view to identify the priority measure(s) to be further developed as part of a basket of measures by MEPC 80, in accordance with the Work plan.

MEPC 79 (12-16 December 2022) agreed the terms of reference for the  next sessions of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships including the invitation to further consider and finalize the assessment and selection of measure(s) to further develop in the context of Phase II of the Work plan for the development of mid- and long-term measures.

ISWG-GHG 14 (20-24 March 2023) considered proposals for developing a basket of candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures, containing both technical and economic elements, in the context of Phase II of the IMO Work Plan for the development of mid-term measures and noted the constructive progress made in this regard. The Group requested the Secretariat to organize a dedicated ad-hoc expert workshop on comparative analysis of candidate mid-term measures ahead of the next intersessional working group meeting.

Ad-hoc expert workshop on candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures (25 to 26 May 2023) provided an opportunity to exchange information between proponents of GHG reduction measures and experts to facilitate the identification of possible technical and economic elements as well as other commonalities in the proposed measures, which may serve as building blocks for the basket of candidate mid-term measures. 

ISWG-GHG 15 (26-30 June) completed its work work on the description of the basket of measures, comprising a technical element and economic element, as identified in "Phase II" of the work plan, which was the assessment and selection of measure(s) to further develop. During the discussions, all delegations that spoke supported the further development of a goal-based fuel/energy standard as the technical element mandating phased reductions in the GHG intensity of marine fuels, as part of a basket of measures.

MEPC 80 (3-7 July 2023) adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. The 2023 GHG Strategy states that 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.

The mid-term GHG reduction measures should effectively promote the energy transition of shipping and provide the world fleet a needed incentive while contributing to a level playing field and a just and equitable transition.

The 2023 IMO Strategy contains key stages towards the adoption of a 2028 IMO GHG Strategy which envisages the mid-term measures to be approved at MEPC 83 (Spring 2025) for adoption at an extraordinary session of the MEPC set to be specially convened in Autumn 2025 to allow for the entry into force of the measures in 2027.

Proposed measures

Throughout Phase I of the Work Plan, Member States and Organizations submitted several measures proposals containing technical and economical elements. The process of evaluation and selection of measures during Phase II led to the submission of refined proposals.

Fact sheets for each individual measure proposal are available on the right pane of this page.

Earlier discussions on proposals for market-based measures

A non-exhaustive summary of previous discussions on proposals for market-based measures which had taken place in the Organization is set out in document ISWG-GHG 12/INF.2