Report from the IMO Intersessional meeting on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions

1. General remarks


The IMO's Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) agreed in April that a working group hold an intersessional meeting to further develop a framework of measures aimed to limit and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from ships. The meeting was held 23-27 June in Oslo, Norway, and was attended by more than 200 delegates from governments and various sectors of the shipping industry. INTERTANKO was represented by: Henrik von Platen, ISTEC Chairman; Howard Seto, Vice Chairman of the Environmental Committee; Nicholas Schneider (Teekay); Peter Swift, Managing Director; Christine Kogler, Consultant with ADS Insight in Brussels; Erik Ranheim, Research and Projects Manager; Tim Gunner, Consultant; and Dragos Rauta, Technical Director.


The opening session included a set of general remarks from the IMO Secretary General and several governments, including countries which are not listed in Annex I of Kyoto Protocol (generally developing and producing countries). This latter group argued strongly that if the IMO is to develop  GHG reduction regulations, they should do so in the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, which recognises "common but differentiated responsibilities". This aspect inevitably places an additional burden on the processes of the IMO, which, as a U.N. Agency, is charged with developing regulations to apply to all ships engaged in international trade.


As of the publication deadline for this Weekly NEWS issue, the discussions may be summarised as follows:


2. Design CO2 Index


The two documents below are the suggested proposed formulation for a mandatory new ship design CO2 index and the draft guidelines for the method of calculation of the new ship design CO2 index.


Click here for the Proposed Formulation for a Mandatory New Ship Design Co2 Index


Click here for draft Guidelines for the Method of Calculation of the New Ship Design CO2 Index.


There exists a general view that the Design Index should probably be used as a "recommendation" for a certain (limited) period time for verification of the methodology.


It is proposed that INTERTANKO's Working Group on Air Emissions should use the formulae and the guidelines for simulation and verification purposes for oil tankers and chemical tankers. The Chemical Tanker Committee will also be made aware and invited to consider these developments and verification. The objectives of the verification process will be to understand the impact of these proposals on current and future designs, including any constraints or limitations that may result.


Although not yet an official outcome from this week's meeting, the working group has discussed an initial definition of a "base line" which could/would be the basis for establishing a "required" Design Index for new ships, based on ship type and a function of its size.


3. Operational Index – Energy Efficiency Management Plan


It was agreed that the Operational Index should not be considered as a mandatory element for compliance but instead require ships to have a an energy efficiency management plan by which ship operators should monitor the ship's energy use. The IMO will be expected to develop Guidelines on how to do this monitoring, calculation and reporting. It was agreed that the Guidelines should be based on the current MEPC Cir. 471, to be developed as appropriate. The Operational Index would then, in effect, become a Key Performance Indicator (KPI).


It was also agreed that Part II of these Guidelines will contain a set of Best Practices with methodologies which could be used to lower the KPI of ships in service.


The industry will develop these Guidelines based on a first draft developed during this meeting.


It was agreed that Design and Operational Indexes are different in concept and there is no direct link between them and therefore no need to harmonise them.


4. Market Mechanisms


4.1 Levy on fuel


Due to major differences in opinion between the governments on how to proceed on this matter, it was concluded that it was not possible to develop this further, beyond the papers submitted to the intersessional meeting, and it will be left to MEPC 58 in October to address further this matter..


4.2 Emission Trading Schemes (ETS)


Discussion of ETS revealed similar differences in the views of the various governments regarding the fuel levy.


However, there was discussion on how a free standing IMO instrument might establish a framework which would allow regions to establish ETS systems, based on an IMO model but with a variable cap on CO2 emissions. The discussions were initially directed at identifying the barriers which might exist for the establishment of ETS systems, and, to the extent possible, an assessment of how to re-define the proposals that such barriers should be eliminated.


During these discussions, the U.S. clarified its own position: namely it has no problems with a regional ETS but it does not agree that "regional" means that ships from outside that region would be unilaterally required to be part of the regional ETS.


Contact: Dragos Rauta