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Global News Decarbonization tops IMO’s London MEPC79 agenda

Registration dateDEC 21, 2022

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor EuropeDec 12, 2022, 12:30 PM EST
source : (The Journal of Commerce)

Greg Knowler, Senior Editor Europe
Dec 12, 2022, 12:30 PM EST
source : (The Journal of Commerce)

Decarbonization tops IMO’s London MEPC79 agenda IMO member states will discuss a range of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction measures in London this week.
Photo credit: Jouni Niskakoski /

Ocean carriers preparing to implement regulatory changes in the coming years will be tuned into the International Maritime Organization’s 79th Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC79), which kicked off in London Monday.

IMO member states will be discussing a range of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction measures at the meeting, including ship energy efficiency calculators and market-based technical and carbon-pricing mechanisms.

“Essential work must be completed to set the path for the decarbonization of the shipping industry, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim told delegates in his opening address.

MEPC79 comes just three weeks after the United Nations Climate Change conference in Egypt (COP27), where Lim said there was strong interest in the IMO's decarbonization work, "in particular, how future regulatory signals could encourage the production of alternative low- and zero-carbon fuels for shipping and the related necessary expansion of renewable energy production,” he said in Monday’s address.

That is a critical issue around which the success of decarbonizing shipping will revolve. There is a huge cost associated with transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. Clean energy investment of at least $4 trillion by 2030 will be required to put the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050, three times what is being invested today, according to the International Energy Agency.

MEPC79 delegates will also be considering a basket of measures that can integrate both technical and carbon pricing elements as the maritime industry transitions to more renewable fuels.

One of the technical measures that will get discussion time is the IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), which calculates how efficiently a vessel above 5,000 deadweight tons transports goods or passengers and is given in grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per cargo-carrying capacity and nautical mile. The first reporting of the CII using 2023 data is due no later than March 31, 2024.

Container shipping companies have voiced concern over the lack of enforcement measures from the IMO for the energy rating, without which they say the CII will not be effective.

The carbon pricing discussions will follow on from a May online meeting of the MEPC, where measures agreed included a GHG levy, a GHG fuel standard, emissions trading, and a funding/reward system tied to a specific emissions benchmark.

The European Union is leading the way in that area with its Emissions Trading System (ETS). Under the “cap-and-trade" principle, ship operators from 2024 will be required to buy and surrender ETS emission allowances, known as EU Allowances, for each ton of CO2 emissions reported under the scope of the system, with penalties levied for noncompliance.
· Contact Greg Knowler at and follow him on Twitter: @greg_knowler.