IMO negotiations on tightening the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will meet in London from 12 to 6 December 2022. The topics of the meeting include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping and update of the initial IMO greenhouse gas strategy. The meeting will also discuss the regulation regarding discharge from sulphur oxide scrubbers, the black carbon emissions from maritime transport in the Arctic region, the reduction of plastic waste from ships to sea and the energy efficiency of ships.
On the agenda of the 79th MEPC session is the update of the initial IMO greenhouse gas strategy. Like other EU Member States, Finland is in favour of raising the global emissions reduction target from the current 50 per cent to 100 per cent by 2050. When negotiating the update of the strategy, Finland together with other EU Member States will adapt their work as required by the climate crisis and the most recent statistics. The level of ambition for the update of the greenhouse gas strategy to be decided in summer 2023 will be set at the negotiations.
In terms of emissions from shipping in the medium and long term, the main theme of the meeting is the economic instrument, i.e. the global emission fee, emissions trading or other comparable means on which the countries seek agreement. The final combination could be, for example, a measure of the fuel standard and emission fees advocated by EU Member States.
Finland considers it important that an agreement on the economic instrument be reached soon. Finland is in favour of the economic guidance method being primarily based on a global fee that would be determined on the basis of the greenhouse gas content of commercial marine fuels, and would be revised at regular intervals. Instead of such an emissions fee, Finland is also ready to adopt the global emissions trading scheme for maritime transport, if agreement on its principles can be reached within the IMO in the next few years.
In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, the session will also discuss a new measure, green shipping corridors to be established on a voluntary basis. They are specific maritime transport routes with the aim of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions significantly faster than required by international regulation.
Finland supports the addition of green shipping corridors to resolutions already adopted by the IMO, but not to the strategy, as this would slow down the negotiations on binding emission reduction measures. With the additions, the resolutions would encourage IMO Member States to support the establishment of green shipping corridors.
Like other EU Member States, Finland is in favour of banning the discharge from sulphur oxide scrubbers in sea areas particularly sensitive for such discharge. In order to identify those areas, a set of criteria has been jointly agreed.
The meeting will be attended by representatives from the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The delegation also includes advisers from Wärtsilä, Neste and the Finnish Shipowners' Association.
The MEPC December session will set the course for the July 2023 session in updating the IMO's greenhouse gas strategy.
Anita Mäkinen, Chief Specialist, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the IMO, Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, tel. +358 40 162 4592, [email protected]
Eero Hokkanen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 50 476 0401, [email protected]