“It was hugely promising to see numerous calls urging IMO member states to act on GHG emissions in advance of the latest meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). These included calls from leading industry associations and over 50 shipping businesses. It is clear that much of the industry is committed to, and is confident in its ability to profitably reduce emissions.
“However, the outcome was that we have no guarantee of seeing a clear target or decarbonisation pathway until 2018 at the earliest — nor seeing a single ton of carbon reduced until after 2023. By this timeline, shipping’s emissions will have had a further decade of unrestricted growth since the IMO’s GHG Emissions Report 2014, and will require much more drastic measures to align with a 2-degree pathway.
“This leaves industry leaders, who are keen to set shipping on a sustainable course, with a lack of certainty on how to invest scarce resources. As research from UCL and CWR made clear earlier this year, shipowners that have invested in efficiency are not being rewarded. This problem is compounded by a lack of data transparency, now recently codified by MEPC 70’s decision that all fuel consumption data collected under IMO’s data collection system will be anonymized.
“The industry’s GHG emissions problem comes at a time when many shipowners, shipping lines, and banks are facing existential financial challenges, with some saying the structure of the industry stands on a knife’s edge. Shipping must undergo a transformation to ensure success in a future dominated by big data and low-carbon. This shift will require leaders from industry and IMO member states working in concert. The Carbon War Room will continue to help rally and align these leaders by providing transparent information and hands-on support.”