IMO negotiations on higher emission reduction targets for 2050

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 22.11.2021 8.30
Press release
A cargo ship. (Photo: Mika Pakarinen, Keksi/LVM)
A cargo ship. (Photo: Mika Pakarinen, Keksi/LVM)

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will meet on 22-26 November 2021. The aim of the remote meeting is to discuss ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping and to discuss a more stringent emission reduction target for 2050. Finland is in favour of raising the global target for reducing emissions by 2050.

At the last MEPC meeting in June 2021, a global short-term reduction measure was adopted. However, the decision is insufficient for any clear reduction of emissions in line with IMO targets in the short term by 2030. Finland joined the other EU Member States in opposing the inadequate level of carbon intensity cuts.

This meeting will discuss, for example, the global research and development fund based on fuel charges. The discussion will probably result in negotiations on medium and long-term emission reduction measures, such as a measure based on the proposed fund and operating on market terms. The emission reduction impact of these measures will probably be much greater than that of the short-term measure decided earlier.

Finland supports in the IMO the development of market-based emissions reduction measures, which guide operators to use low-carbon and non-carbon fuels.It is Finland's view that any funds raised through global market-based emissions reduction measures should be spent on the rapid development and deployment of solutions that reduce emissions from ships. In fund allocation, particular attention should be paid to the least developed countries and small island states. Finland considers it important that the regulatory framework for such a method be agreed already at this meeting so that decisions could be made at the next meeting in spring 2022.

Among the items on the meeting agenda will be a more stringent GHG reduction target for 2050. A decision on the matter must be made by 2023 at the latest in connection with the update of the Initial IMO Strategy for Reducing GHG Emissions from Ships. Like other EU Member states, Finland is in favour of tightening the global emissions reduction target set for 2050 from the current 50% to 100%, i.e. committing to pursuing fully carbon-free shipping by 2050. Already in its resolution adopted in May, the Government outlined that Finland is in favour of tightening the IMO targets.

In addition to tightening up the emissions reduction target, the MEPC will discuss ballast water issues, the energy efficiency of vessels and the reduction of plastic waste from ships at sea.

Finnish attendees at the meeting will include representatives of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of the Environment, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom), the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Provincial Government of Åland.

What's next?

The November session of the MEPC is important not only for the IMO's 2050 target and the research and development fund, but also for the updating of the whole IMO Strategy for Reducing GHG Emissions and the timetable for future measures. If no agreement is reached on these issues or decisions are postponed again, the pressure on regional regulation, for example at the European Union level, will increase.

In the IMO, Finland has promoted ambitious targets for reducing emissions from international shipping and a tight timeline for the introduction of emissions reduction measures, as the highest impact can be achieved by global measures. Finland has proposed new arrangements to improve the efficiency of IMO's work, which will also be on the agenda of the upcoming session.


Päivi Antikainen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 50 382 7101, [email protected], Twitter @PaiviAntikainen

Eero Hokkanen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 476 0401, [email protected], Twitter @eerohokkanen