International shipping almost certain to pay to reduce others’ emissions

Shanghai skyline pollution

In his address to the Hong Kong Shipowners Association on May 16, the International Chamber of Shipping secretary general Peter Hincliffe warned members that the industry would likely be subjected to market-based measures to fund emission reductions.

Mr Hinchliffe was summarising the conclusions of the April meeting of the 69th session of the International Maritime Organisation Marine Environmental Committee which approved mandatory requirements for ships to record and report data on their fuel consumption together with additional data on proxies for the “transport work” undertaken by the ship.

The new requirements come in response to a US proposal for a three-stage approach to shipping’s CO2 emissions; measure shipping’s fuel consumption; analyse the results of that measurement over a number of years to establish not only the quantum but also the trends. Then, finally decide how to improve the situation by further regulation or by economic measures. The proposal was eventually accepted by the IMO member states

“This is why the adoption of a legal regulatory text for data collection is so important for the future of the industry,” said Mr Hinchliffe.

“I believe this, combined with an explanation of the three-stage approach is a good news story and a step forward in explaining the industry’s commitment to a forward looking environmentally sustainable position. It is pleasing therefore that the IMO agreed at this most recent meeting to new draft regulatory text on the collection of fuel data and its intention to adopt the mandatory application across the world fleet in 2018.

“The pathway through the three-step process is clear. IMO based discussion on a market-based mechanism is bound to be part of the analysis phase. ICS believes that some form of politically driven market based measure is inevitable. The forward leaning, environmentally focused nations in northwest Europe see this as a discussion that cannot be delayed and some are already thinking and speaking about the inclusion of shipping in the European trading scheme. Something, which we much avoid at all costs,” he concluded.

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