Following the COP23 Conference, Paul Fanning looks at the external pressures on IMO to deliver progress on CO2 emissions reduction.
Following the COP23 Climate Change Conference in Bonn, there have been many voices praising the progress being made by the shipping industry on the reduction of CO2 emissions.
The only problem is that most of these voices have come from within the shipping industry itself. Others, however, clearly feel that efforts in this direction cannot be left to the shipping industry alone.
The most obvious example of this has come from the European Union Parliament which, while it recently agreed on a revision of the EU's Emissions Trading System that, for the time being, excludes shipping, made it clear that it will move to include shipping in the trading system from 2023 if IMO progress on CO2 strategy is considered insufficient.
This was a fairly clear message to IMO that the EU will hold its feet to the fire on the question of CO2 reduction. This means that the pressure is likely to ramp up significantly on IMO the closer we get to 2023.
Clearly, progress in this area is far from simple, since IMO has to adopt measures that suit all parties. Developed nations and developing nations have very different takes on what constitute reasonable measures – a division that is formally recognised in the Paris Agreement, which allows for ‘appropriate degrees of contribution’ from countries depending on economic status. At the same time, of course, no country wants to put itself at an economic disadvantage to its peers.
These factors – among many others – suggest that CO2 is going to occupy minds in shipping for years to come.