IMO Environment Committee Makes Progress on Emissions Regulations for Ships

Major progress on air pollution, ship recycling and ballast water management at IMO environment meeting 13 October 2008: The International Maritime Organization's

(IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) held its 58th session from

6-10 October 2008, in London, UK. The Committee maintained momentum in limiting

or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, and made substantive

progress in developing technical and operational measures to address these


The Committee approved the use of the draft Interim Guidelines on

the method of calculation of the Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships,

for calculation/trial purposes with a view to further refinement and

improvement. The MEPC also held a discussion on market-based measures, and

agreed to further discuss such measures at its next session. For its

deliberations, the Committee considered information on Phase 1 of the updating

of the 2000 IMO Study on GHG emissions from ships, which estimates emissions of

carbon dioxide from international shipping both from activity data and from

international fuel statistics. The Committee's work in this area will be

pursued at an intersessional meeting early in 2009, for presentation to MEPC59

in July 2009.

The outcome of MEPC59 will be presented to the UN Climate Change

Conference to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009. The Committee

also discussed whether the measures to reduce or limit GHG emissions from ships

should be mandatory or voluntary for all States. Several delegations favored

the application of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility,

and therefore the application of any mandatory regime aimed at reducing GHG

emissions from ships to Annex I countries.

However, several others referred to

the IMO's global mandate as regards the safety of ships and the protection of

the marine environment from ship emissions, and argued that the IMO regulatory

framework on GHG should be applicable to all ships, irrespective of the flags

they fly. Some highlighted that three-quarters of the world's merchant fleet

fly the flag of non-Annex I countries and that any regulatory regime on GHGs

from shipping would be ineffective if it were only applied to Annex I

countries. [IMO

Press Release]