IMO targets 2050 to reduce greenhouse gases

Boskalis TSHD Prins der Nederlanden running on marine biofuel. Credit: Boskalis

With the 2020 sulphur cap under its belt, the International Maritime Organization is now focused on slashing marine greenhouse gas emissions globally – with a timeline of objectives recently brought forward to 2022

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) future emissions strategy calls for a reduction in total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of at least 50% by 2050 compared with 2008 – and simultaneously pursuing efforts to ban them entirely.

This phased strategy includes a specific reference to a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals, along with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It should be noted that CO2 is not the only GHG on the agenda: IMO defines five other worrisome gases: methane, nitrous oxide (NOx), hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride. It also points to other substances that may contribute to climate change, including black carbon.

In pursuit of the strategy, and toughening requirements, IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) approved the following amendments during its 74th meeting in May 2019:

  • Initiation of a fourth GHG study by IMO
  • Encouraging co-operation with ports to reduce emissions
  • Approval of an impact assessment procedure for proposed new measures
  • Establishment of a multidonor GHG trust fund to provide a dedicated source of financial support for technical co-operation and capacity-building activities.
  • Terms of reference for the sixth (November 2019) and seventh (March 2020) intersessional working groups to expedite the work

This is an excerpt of the DPC August edition. To have access to the full article, and more DPC articles, please subscribe here.