By complaining to Europe, is IMO boss aligning himself with shipping’s climate laggards? – NGOs reaction

The Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC), a group of NGOs with observer status at the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO), have heavily criticised comments by the head of the IMO warning the EU against taking action to address increasing GHG emissions from ships.

John Maggs, CSC president and shipping advisor to Seas at Risk, said: “The challenge of meeting the objective of the Paris Agreement is so great that it will require action at all levels. There is nothing that says action can only take place at IMO and indeed it would be counterproductive to concentrate only on the development of IMO measures, when processes there are often subject to delay. The IMO’s criticism of EU action is unfortunate and we call on Mr Secretary-General to take stock and press IMO members to urgently agree targets and measures at a global level.”

Faig Abbasov, clean shipping officer of Transport & Environment (T&E), a member of the Clean Shipping Coalition said: “It is wrong for the head of the IMO to condemn the European Parliament’s actions, when it has the direct legitimacy of European citizens, and is working hard to protect those citizens from the impact of shipping’s ever-increasing contribution to climate change. We are not aware of Mr Lim writing to those countries and industry bodies that have consistently been blocking progress on ship GHG emissions at IMO for years; it appears as if he is siding with them now.”

In a letter to Martin Schulz (President of the European Parliament), Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission) and Donald Tusk (President of the European Council), the Secretary General of the IMO Mr. Lim condemned the European Parliament for including shipping emissions in European waters in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (the EU ETS).

The decision taken last month by the Environment Committee of the European Parliament includes a compromise provision, which will see shipping included into the EU ETS from 2023 only if the IMO fails to deliver a global agreement deal. This global deal is what IMO promised at a meeting (MEPC70) last October with the adoption of its GHG roadmap. It begs the question, to what extent does the IMO have faith in its own promises?

Shipping, one of the fastest growing sources of transport emissions, is projected to account for 17% of global emissions by 2050. The IMO was first tasked with addressing ship GHG emissions by the Kyoto Protocol some 20 years ago. Real action is still to come.

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