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IMO Discusses Carbon Dioxide Control Measures

4 October 2010: The 61st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which took place from 27 September-1 October 2010, in London, UK, addressed greenhouse gas (GHG) measures for new ships, measures to improve the energy efficiency of ships, and technical and operational measures.

The Committee noted the desire of some States party to Annex VI (Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships) to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) to request the IMO Secretary-General to circulate proposed amendments to that Annex, to make mandatory, for new ships, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), which have already been disseminated for voluntary use. The Committee also noted, however, that other States did not support the circulation of such amendments.

Despite the lack of consensus on how to proceed with the next step of IMO's climate change strategy, the Committee made progress on all three elements of its work, namely technical, operational and market-based measures. It is also expected that further progress will be made at its next meeting in July 2011. On market-based measures for international shipping, the MEPC's debate followed the submission of a report by an Expert Group on the feasibility and impact of several such measures. The Expert Group aimed to evaluate the various proposals to assess the extent to which they could assist in reducing GHG emissions from international shipping, giving priority to the maritime sectors of developing countries, least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The MEPC agreed Terms of Reference for an intersessional meeting of the Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships, to be held in March 2011, to provide an opinion on the need and purpose of market-based measures as a possible mechanism to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. A report from the intersessional group will be submitted to the 62nd session of the MEPC in July 2011. [IMO Press Release]