More ambitious 2050 emission reduction target on the cards

Calls for net zero by 2050 when IMO adopts revised GHG strategy

It looks almost certain that the IMO will adopt significantly stronger ambitions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping when revising it GHG Strategy.

The Initial IMO GHG Strategy, adopted in 2018, calls for overall GHG from international shipping to be reduced by at least 50% by 2050 (compared to 2008). The IMO’s GHG strategy is due to be revised by 2023.

The 77th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 77) had seven proposals calling for revising the IMO’s GHG strategy to embrace a net zero emissions target by 2050, many of them co-sponsored by member states.

While these proposals all called for carbon neutral shipping by 2050, the approach was not fully aligned. A proposal to adopt an MEPC Resolution on “zero emissions shipping by 2050” received significant support, but others preferred to focus instead on achieving this goal when working on the revision on the IMO’s GHG Strategy.

A Final draft of the strategy needs to be ready for adoption by MEPC in 2023.

MEPC 77 held extensive discussions on a number of proposals for further mid-term GHG reduction measures, including market-based measures, a proposal to establish an International Maritime Research and Development Board, and the outcomes of the 9th and 10th meetings of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG).

No new measures were agreed at MEPC 77, but proposals and relevant documents have been referred to the next sessions of ISWG-GHG for further assessment.

ISWG-GHG 11 is set to meet 14 to 18 March 2022 and ISWG-GHG 12, 16 to 20 May 2022.

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