IMO renegotiates the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will meet on 6-10 June 2022. The purpose of the remote meeting is to discuss ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping and to update the initial IMO greenhouse gas strategy. Negotiations will also be held on, for example, matters relating to ships' ballast water, the designation of the Mediterranean as a sulphur emission control area and measures to reduce marine plastic litter from ships.
At the 78th MEPC Session, guidelines will be provided to specify the short-term emissions reduction measure negotiated already in June 2021. The measure aims at improving the energy efficiency of existing vessels and limiting their carbon intensity. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping in accordance with the jointly agreed IMO targets, work on the topic should be continued. Finland's objective is that the general level of climate ambition of short-term measures not be lowered and that the special circumstances of winter shipping be taken into account in the guidelines.
With regard to mid- and long-term emissions reduction measures, the main topic of the session will be the combination of the fuel standard and the global economic steering instrument advocated by EU Member States. Finland is in favour of agreeing on this combined measure as soon as possible. As the basis for economic steering, Finland is primarily in favour of a global fee based on the greenhouse gas content of commercial marine fuels, adjusted at regular intervals. Finland is also ready to adopt the global emissions trading scheme for maritime transport, if its principles can be agreed upon in the IMO in the next few years.
Finland supports the allocation of the global greenhouse gas fees on fuels to an international fund. The fund should be established by amending the MARPOL Convention. Any funds to be raised should be spent on the rapid development and deployment of solutions that reduce emissions from ships. In distributing the funds, particular attention should be paid to the least developed countries and to small developing island states.
Update of the IMO greenhouse gas strategy on the agenda
The update of the IMO's greenhouse gas strategy will also be on the session agenda. 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. Already in its resolution adopted in May, the Government outlined that Finland is in favour of tightening the IMO targets.
Finland is in favour of updating other parts of the strategy, for example by adding 2040 as the audit date for monitoring emissions trends and updating the list of mid- and long-term emissions reduction measures. Finland is opposed to proposals to weaken or undermine the targets of the original strategy.
In addition, Finland will in this session present to the IMO its own national action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport. After Great Britain and Norway, Finland is the third European country to share such a plan with the other IMO Member States and the Secretariat.
Finland has proposed new working arrangements to improve the effectiveness of the negotiations within the IMO on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These new arrangements will also be discussed at the session.
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 Government of Åland.
The MEPC June session is important in view of the IMO's 2050 target and the progress of updating the greenhouse gas strategy. The discussions will continue in December 2022.
Anita Mäkinen, Alternate Permanent Representative of Finland to the IMO, Chief Adviser, Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, tel. +358 40 162 4592, [email protected], Twitter @AnitaMakinen
Eero Hokkanen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 50 476 0401, [email protected], Twitter @eerohokkanen