29 October 2020

International Maritime Organization Working Group Agrees to Emissions-Cutting Measures

On October 23, 2020, a week of climate discussions by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Ships concluded with draft measures to cut carbon emissions from ships. The new measures would amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships (MARPOL Convention) and require ships to reduce their carbon intensity as part of IMO’s goal to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030 from 2008 levels. If adopted, the amendments would require new ships to be built so that they are more energy efficient than the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) baseline. They would also apply carbon intensity reduction requirements for the operation of ships. All ships, both existing and new, of 5,000 gross tonnage and above would be required to determine their required annual operational carbon intensity indicator and obtain an operational carbon intensity rating of A, B, C, D, or E. A ship rated D or E for three consecutive years would have to submit a corrective action plan to improve its emissions.

The draft amendments will be considered by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee during its remote session, scheduled for November 16–20, 2020. If approved during that session, the amendments will be put forward for adoption at the next session, held in 2021.

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