June 16, 2008
IMO GHG panel meets
The First Intersessional Meeting of IMO's Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships will be held next week in Oslo, Norway (23 to 27 June, 2008).
The week-long session has the job of coming up with a technical basis for "reduction mechanisms "that may form part of a future IMO regime to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, and a draft of the actual reduction mechanisms themselves.
Whatever the Oslo meeting comes up with--which could well include some sort of carbon tax on bunker fuels--will then go to IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee.
More than 180 experts from all over the world, are registered for attendance in Oslo.
IMO is working to have measures in place to control GHG emissions from international shipping before the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2011.
The fifty-seventh session of the MEPC agreed, in April 2008, on the fundamental principles for a coherent and comprehensive future IMO framework for a binding GHG instrument for international shipping.
The Oslo meeting will look at market-based, operational and technical measures. These will include the development of a mandatory CO2 Design Index for new ships and the completion of a CO2 Operational Index, as well as further development of what IMO calls "mechanisms with GHG-reduction potential for international shipping, including, inter alia: a global levy/hybrid mechanism; emissions trading schemes; and/or so-called clean development mechanisms."
Global levy is IMO speak for a tax. What a "hybrid mechanism" means, if anything, is unclear.
The meeting will also undertake a review of best practices for voluntary implementation. MEPC 58 will be held in London from 6 to 10 October this year and is expected to approve the reduction mechanisms developed by the Intersessional Meeting, with a view to them forming part of the future IMO regime applying to all ships.
MEPC 58 is also expected to consider the related legal aspects and decide whether the GHG regulations should form part of an existing convention or whether an entirely new instrument should be developed and adopted.
MEPC 58 will also decide on the work needed prior to MEPC 59, to be held in July 2009, when final adoption of a coherent and comprehensive IMO regime to control GHG emissions from ships engaged in international trade is planned.