March 2009: Second intersessional meeting of IMO's Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) from Ships
Major progress was made in developing measures to enhance energy efficiency in international shipping, and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions, when the second intersessional meeting of IMO's Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) from Ships was held at IMO's London headquarters from 9 to 13 March 2009.
The meeting will report to IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) when it meets for its 59th session in July.
The working group, which was attended by more than 200 experts from all over the world, concentrated on the technical and operational measures to reduce GHG from ships - two of the three pillars of IMO's GHG work. The third pillar, possible market-based instruments, will be debated in depth at MEPC 59.
The working group considered a large number of papers from Member Governments and observer organisations on how to increase fuel efficiency in the world fleet.
The main focus was the further refinement of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships, on the basis of experience gained through its trial application over the past six months. The EEDI is meant to stimulate innovation and technical development of all the elements influencing the energy efficiency of a ship, thus making it possible to design and build intrinsically energy efficient ships of the future.
The group also considered how to improve the Energy Efficiency Operational Index (EEOI), which enables operators to measure the fuel efficiency of an existing ship and, therefore, to gage the effectiveness of any measures adopted to reduce energy consumption. The EEOI has been applied by Member States and the shipping industry, on a trial basis and since 2005, to hundreds of ships in operation; it provides a figure, expressed in grams of CO2 per tonne mile, for the efficiency of a specific ship, enabling comparison of its energy or fuel efficiency to similar ships.
The experts at the meeting debated over a draft Ship Energy Management Plan (SEMP) that has been developed by a coalition of industry organizations and agreed to forward it to MEPC 59 for further consideration. The draft SEMP incorporates guidance on best practices, which include improved voyage planning, speed and power optimization, optimized ship handling, improved fleet management and cargo handling, as well as energy management for individual ships.
The outcome of MEPC 59 will be presented to the Conference that the United Nations will convene in Copenhagen in December 2009, which is set to agree on a successor instrument to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) - 58th session: 6 to 10 October
The week-long session was tasked with developing the technical basis for reduction mechanisms that may form part of a future IMO regime to control GHG emissions from international shipping, and with developing drafts of the actual reduction mechanisms themselves, for further consideration by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which next meets in October 2008 and, notwithstanding the importance of the Oslo meeting, will have the final, decisive role to play on the issue.
In particular, the Oslo meeting made progress on developing a mandatory CO2 Design Index for ships and an interim CO2 operational index, and held extensive discussions on best practices for voluntary implementation and economic instruments with GHG-reduction potential
Although, to date, no mandatory GHG instrument for international shipping has been adopted, IMO has given extensive consideration to the matter and is currently working in accordance with an ambitious work plan, due to culminate, in 2009, with the adoption of a binding instrument. 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 design index will contain a required minimum level of fuel efficiency related to a baseline, which will be established based on fuel efficiency for ships delivered between 1995 and 2005. The actual minimum level, and the frequency with which the limit will be tightened, are among the matters that will be considered by MEPC 58 in October.
The Oslo meeting thoroughly considered the different elements in the formula to avoid so-called "paragraph ships", meaning future ship designs optimized for certain conditions but which do not actually deliver greater fuel efficiency. The different correction factors to make the formula relevant for all ship types were given extensive consideration, as was verification of the design index, as there might not be a Flag state dedicated to the ship at the design stage.
The meeting encouraged Member States and observer organizations to test the robustness of the agreed draft formula by conducting simulations and submitting the outcome to MEPC 58. With this outcome, MEPC 58 should be in a position to approve the CO2 Design Index for new ships and agree on the final details.
The interim CO2 operational index has been used to establish a common approach for trials on voluntary CO2 emission indexing, enabling shipowners and operators to evaluate the performance of their fleet with regard to CO2 emissions. As the amount of CO2 emitted from a ship is directly related to the consumption of fuel oil, CO2 indexing also provides useful information on a ship's performance with regard to fuel efficiency. The draft CO2 operational index will be put forward to MEPC 58 with a view to finalizing it at that session.
for voluntary implementation
with GHG-reduction potential
"Grandfathering" or auctioning of the allowances, how the cap is set and by whom, the management of any system, the banking of allowances and the impact on world trade, as well as legal aspects, were also among the issues considered. The meeting had an extensive exchange of views, paving the way for further discussion at MEPC 58 on the possible introduction of market-based measures to provide incentives for the shipping industry to invest in fuel-efficient ships.
However, no clear conclusion was reached as to whether any such instrument should apply to all ships, irrespective of flag, or only to ships flying the flag of Parties to the UNFCCC and listed in Annex I to that Convention.
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.