IMO considers mandatory ship efficiency index
International Maritime Organization Marine Environment Protection Committee delegates meeting in London this week were urged “not to put political and other interests above those of the environment.”
IMO Secretary General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos instead asked delegates to work for the protection of the environment against ship-generated greenhouse gas emissions.
But caught up in a bigter debate abut climate policy is creating a mandatory energy efficiency design index (EEDI) for new ships and requiring each ship to have a ship specific Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan.
EEDI legislation is being supported by groups such as the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and World Shipping Council (WSC).
ICS said its member national ship owners' associations are lobbying governments hard to ensure they support the adoption of global rules on technical and operational measures, which ICS believes will deliver at least a 20 reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, per ton-kilometer of trade carried by sea.
'Every vote will count,' explained ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe. 'We appreciate that some developing countries — in our view mistakenly — are concerned that a positive IMO decision on technical measures, that will apply to all ships equally, regardless of flag, might somehow prejudice their positions at the high level U.N. Climate Change negotiations.”
Developing countries are said to be concerned that universal application of EEDIs might jeopardize the principle of “common, but differentiated responsibility” that was a keystone of the Kyoto Protocol that recognized that developed countries created current high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through their historic industrial activity.
Many observers feel the application of that principle makes no sense in shipping, where companies based in Europe or the United States own ships registered in and subject to the rules applicable to developing nations such as Liberia.
“Any failure to agree at IMO will make discussions on the reduction of shipping's emissions far more difficult. As well as being bad for the environment, a 'no' vote will threaten the 'level playing field' in international shipping with the risk of very serious market distortions,' Hinchliffe said.
The European Union has indicated if the IMO does not take action, it might take steps to control greenhouse gas emissions from ships.
Chris Koch, chief executive officer of the World Shipping Council, said it was his group’s hope that the IMO will adopt the EEDI for new ships at this week’s session, but said it appeared unlikely that proposals for a market based mechanism to control greenhouse gases will be adopted.
Several proposals are vying for consideration. The United Kingdom and Norway have proposed emission trading schemes, but the ICS has opposed this as being overly complex. In contrast, there are competing proposals for taxes or levies on bunker fuel by Denmark and joint proposal by the government of Japan and the World Shipping Council, which represents the liner shipping industry.
The WSC and Japan say their Vessel Efficiency Incentive Scheme (EIS) would stimulate significant improvements in the carbon efficiency of the world's maritime fleet by establishing explicit efficiency standards for both new and existing ships in the world fleet.
Vessel efficiency would be measured using the EEDI being considered this week at the IMO.
“New and existing ships meeting the specified standards would not be subject to any fees or costs other than those costs associated with the design and installation of more efficient ship technologies,” the WSC explained. “Those ships that fall short of the specific standards would be required to pay a fee (or penalty) that is based on the amount of fuel consumed and how far short of standard the specific ship falls. As such, the per-unit fee applied to each ton of fuel is adjusted based on the relative efficiency of the vessel.”
The proposal by the WSC and Japan is explained in a report available here.
Koch said the WSC-Japan proposal is attracting interest from shipper groups, as it would encourage use of more efficient and greener vessels. ' Chris Dupin