As world leaders prepare for the climate change negotiations in Bonn and Paris before the end of the year, the Secretary General of IMO Koji Sekimizu recalled the importance of the contribution made by the international shipping industry in relation to global CO2 emissions. The IMO is the specialised agency of the United Nations with responsibility for regulating the safety and environmental performance of international maritime transport.
During a conference in Singapore, Sekimizu strongly reiterated that the IMO agency is the only place where the debate on transport and climate change should be taken forward, given the enormous impact that the shipping sector has on the global economy.
The secretary of the IMO agency commends the agency’s work in developing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and thus limit its contribution to climate change. Thanks to the IMO agency, he said, shipping is so far the only industry sector to operate under the legislation aimed at reducing emissions over time.
Efforts to reduce air emissions from cargo ships took an important step forward in 1997, with the adoption of the Protocol known as MARPOL Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. Further amendments to MARPOL Annex VI entered into force in 2013 and the IMO Agency continued to develop assistance practices to support their implementation for the entire world fleet, as well as to develop a comprehensive data collection system for ships’ fuel consumption.
Of course, the IMO agency will never be able to control the global demand for transported goods, which in turn is directly related to the growth of the global economy.
Maritime trade has grown more than three times over the last four decades and
The global demand cycle will need to be addressed by governments, particularly those willing to act in a spirit of cooperation. Historically, the debate between governments on global shipping, whether technical, operational or fiscal, has taken place within the IMO. According to the Secretary-General of the IMO, it is the only place to take this debate forward. In fact, already in the Kyoto Protocol, the IMO agency was designated as the right agency to deal with greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport.
In the process leading up to the Paris meeting, world leaders could consider specific measures to reduce the global contribution of transport to CO2 emissions.