• the shipping & climate summit of the year 

    May 13-17, International Maritime Organisation, London

  • WHAT IS MEPC 74?

    The key summit on shipping’s climate impact this year is MEPC 74, happening May 13-17 at the International Maritime Organisation in London.


    IMO member states adopted the landmark Initial Strategy on Greenhouse Gases in April 2018, setting ambitious but achievable emission reduction goals. Now is the time to agree effective short-term measures to achieve these goals.

  • Why is it So important?

    After the IPCC's 1.5˚C report, it has become even clearer that achieving short-term CO2 cuts is of critical importance for the stability of our climate: shipping is able to contribute to this effort in the short term while making huge fuel cost savings - a Win-Win opportunity.


    How fast shipping manages to reduce its almost 1 Gigatonne of annual greenhouse gas emissions could make the difference between a stable climate system, or out-of-control, dangerous global warming for generations to come.


    As shipping decarbonizes it will switch to new liquid fuel types, manufactured using renewable energy. This switch presents a huge economic opportunity for developing countries with high solar and wind potential, by creating an export market for their renewable energy.

  • what can YOU do?

    Delegate stance at IMO on climate action should be aligned with overall government climate policy. As shipping emits more CO2 than all but the top 5 emitting countries, for most countries stance at IMO can have greater climate impact (either positive or negative) than domestic policy choices.


    Therefore IMO delegates' policy stances will be scrutinised by global media at MEPC74, as one of the last chances for countries to demonstrate climate ambition ahead of the September UN Secretary General’s summit in New York.


    Delegates have three urgent tasks at MEPC74:

  • 1

    Agree effective Short-Term measures to cut CO2


    Agree how to assess Impact on States


    Start work on Long-Term measures

  • 1. Agree effective Short-Term measures to cut CO2


    Only two types of short-term measure can achieve significant CO2 cuts before 2023 as required by the IMO's Initial Strategy, and meet the IMO’s 2030 reduction target:

  • Speed Regulation



    France: ISWG-GHG 5-4-11

    Greece: ISWG-GHG 5-4-3

    Clean Shipping Coalition: MEPC 74-7-8

    Operational Efficiency standards.



    Denmark et al: MEPC 74-7-4

    Japan: MEPC 74-7-2, MEPC 74-INF.23

  • Details from these proposals could be combined to successfully achieve short-term cuts. However any

    policy package must meet these five criteria:


    1. Effective:  can substantially reduce CO2-eq emissions from international shipping relative to BAU emissions, consistent with exceeding IMO’s 2030 carbon intensity target 
    2. Mature:  can be agreed to, implemented, and begin reducing emissions before 2023, taking into account IMO process (e.g. entry into force thresholds, data requirements) and politics
    3. Transparent:  compliance with the measure can be monitored, verified, and enforced.
    4. Scalable:  can support mid and long-term decarbonization (e.g. accelerates development and uptake of low carbon engines and fuels, addresses market failures for efficiency, lowers energy requirements of sector which will be critical given high renewable energy demands of new fuels etc.)
    5. Fair: does not place undue burdens on vulnerable, sensitive, or susceptible populations/member states; impacts on states can be satisfactorily addressed


    Industry lobbyist proposals: Supporting the weak, voluntary measures proposed by ICS and BIMCO would damage a country’s credibility on climate action.


    It would also hold back innovation in the shipping industry itself. Many shipping companies are already pursuing more ambitious CO2 reduction pathways than the IMO strategy.


    Substantial CO2 savings can only be achieved within the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) if its operational efficiency targets become mandatory and are stringent enough to meet the IMO’s 2030 target.

  • 2. Agree how to assess Impact on States



    Delegates at MEPC 74 must also agree on a procedure for assessing the impacts of GHG mitigation measures on States, that is practical and swift.


    Argentina et al’s ISWG-GHG: 5-2-4 proposal is a sensible, streamlined process to accurately and fairly assess the negative and positive impacts on states.


    Brazil and India’s ISWG-GHG 5-2-3 proposal however could seriously delay the decarbonization of shipping. As such, it risks exposing developing country citizens to unnecessary and escalating harm from the physical impacts of climate change, while very slow progress is made on assessing the potential economic impacts from CO2 mitigating measures.


    This proposals’ suggestion that a full impact assessment should take “At least three regular MEPC sessions” appears willfully designed to simply slow or prevent progress at IMO on cutting CO2 emissions, perhaps to protect industry interests.


    Supporting this proposal in its current form would therefore represent a moral failure of leadership and duty to citizens at this stage in the unfolding climate crisis.

  • 3. Start work on Long-Term measures


    IMO delegates furthermore need to urgently start the development of effective Mid- and Long-Term measures that will drive the required switch to low- and zero-carbon fuels, as the only way to reach zero-carbon shipping in line with the Paris Agreement goals.


    Long-term ambition is not an excuse to do nothing now; achieving IMO's mid- and long-term CO2 goals requires short-term action; Only strong short-term CO2 regulations with teeth will give the necessary certainty to shipowners and alternative fuel manufacturers to invest in zero-carbon fuels and propulsion technology.


    Starting CO2 reductions earlier also makes shipping’s long-term decarbonisation pathway easier; by fostering energy-efficiency now, the cost of transition to low- and zero-carbon fuels will be lowered because the amount of energy used per unit of transport work will be lower.

  • About this site

    This site is not affiliated with the International Maritime Organization

    or any of its delegations or affiliated groups

  • Contact Us

    All Posts