The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has urged governments to compromise in order to help the International Maritime Organization (IMO) agree on a strategy for the further reduction of CO2 emissions in the shipping industry.
Ahead of the Intersessional Working Group and Marine and Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) meetings, ICS has stressed that governments will need to show far more willingness to compromise on their current positions or put at risk an agreement on a meaningful strategy.
"Agreement upon a mid-century objective for the total reduction of CO2 emissions by the sector, regardless of trade growth, will be vital to discourage unilateral action and to provide the signal needed to stimulate the development of zero CO2 fuels," said ICS chairman, Esben Poulsson. "But the very high level of ambition proposed by certain EU member states - a 70 to 100 percent total cut in emissions before 2050 - is unlikely to achieve consensus support."
Poulsson added that alternative proposals made by China and Japan merit serious consideration and could form the basis of a possible compromise. "China in particular seems to have made a real effort to move away from its previous opposition to establishing CO2 reduction goals for the sector's total emissions," said Poulsson. "If EU nations want a global agreement they should acknowledge this by similarly modifying their own positions."
ICS suggests that if the IMO sets an initial objective of cutting the sector's total CO2 emissions by, for example, 50 percent, rather than 70 to 100 percent, this would still require a major improvement in ship efficiency. When taking into account the anticipated growth in maritime trade, ICS says this would still only be possible with the widespread use of zero CO2 fuels.
ICS and other industry associations have previously proposed the need for an ambitious vision in the IMO strategy, making it clear that the ultimate goal is the elimination of all CO2 emissions from international shipping sometime between 2050 and 2100, or as soon as the worldwide availability of zero CO2 fuels makes this possible.