Policy update

The International Maritime Organization’s initial greenhouse gas strategy

At the 72nd meeting of its Marine Environment Protection Committee, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a resolution codifying an initial greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy for international shipping. This strategy, which represents the first global climate framework for shipping, includes quantitative GHG reduction targets through 2050 and a list of candidate short-, mid-, and long-term policy measures to help achieve these targets. The strategy implies that international shipping would consume between 3.8% and 5.8% of the world’s remaining carbon budget under the Paris Agreement, up from 2.3% in 2015. Meeting the strategy’s 2050 target will require near-term policies to significantly improve the fuel efficiency of the global fleet and to promote the development and deployment of low- and zero-carbon fuels and propulsion technologies.

Now that the initial strategy has been finalized, IMO will consider which, if any, of the short-term measures should be made mandatory. An additional intersessional working group (ISWG-GHG 4) is planned for later this year, focused on developing an implementation plan for short-term measures. Separately, MEPC will deliberate whether to tighten the existing EEDI standards for new-build ships at its next two meetings. The phase 3 targets (30% efficiency improvement by 2025) are currently under review, and could be implemented soon, subject to a decision expected at MEPC 73 (October 2018). A separate decision on whether to institute new EEDI phases will be considered at MEPC 74 in 2019.

This is the final version of an initial policy update released on April 12, 2018. The initial version can be found here.