MEPC meets and carbon limits are on the agenda

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The MEPC was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr. Arsenio Dominguez (Panama)

MARCH 18, 2016 — IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is meeting in London for its 69th session this week and it could see IMO moving towards setting a sector-specific target for limits on carbon emissions from shipping.

Shipping and aviation were not explicitly included in the text of the Paris Agreement adopted at last year’s COP21 conference on climate change but as we reported last week (see earlier story), the International Chamber of Shipping has made tw,o submissions to MEPC on the carbon issue.

One, made jointly with BIMCO and Intercargo, calls for an immediate adoption of a proposed CO2 data collection system. The other is that IMO should develop an Intended IMO Determined Contribution for CO2 reduction on behalf of the sector. This would mirror the commitments or Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs) which governments have made for their national economies.

The hand-out from IMO on this week’s MEPC meeting says that “following the adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and building on the discussions at its previous session, the MEPC will further consider a proposal for a work plan to define international shipping’s contribution to the global efforts to address climate change” and that “there will be further work on the energy efficiency of international shipping, including the development of the data collection system for ships’ fuel consumption.”

Also on the MEPC agenda will be implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention, more formally called the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, which is close to reaching the requirements for entry into force.

A proposal from the Philippines to designate the marine area known as the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, located between the islands of the Philippines and North Borneo, as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), will be put forward.

The MEPC will also consider establishing an effective date for the application of the Baltic Sea Special Area under MARPOL Annex IV (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships). ​

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