IMO environment meeting adopts mandatory energy efficiency measures for international shipping; first mandatory global GHG reduction regime for an international industry sector
Mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from international shipping were adopted by Parties to MARPOL Annex VI represented in the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), when it met for its 62nd session from 11 to 15 July 2011 at IMO Headquarters in London. These measures constitute the first mandatory global greenhouse gas reduction regime for an international industry sector.
The measures make mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships. (Earlier post.) The EEDI is a non-prescriptive, performance-based mechanism that leaves the choice of technologies to use in a specific ship design to the industry. As long as the specified energy-efficiency baseline is attained, ship designers and builders would be free to use the most cost-efficient solutions for the ship to comply with the regulations.
|International shipping accounts for 2.7%-3.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Unregulated, these emissions are expected to reach 6% of global emissions by 2020 and to double or triple by 2050.|
|—European environmental NGO Transport & Environment|
The IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) will require ships built between 2015–2019 to improve their efficiency by 10%, rising to 20% between 2020 and 2024, and 30% for ships delivered after 2024. However, efforts led by China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa resulted in a waiver for new ships registered in developing countries. (Earlier post.) If countries choose to apply the waiver for a newly delivered ship, application of the EEDI is delayed for 6.5 years from the 1 January 2013 entry into force of the regulation. There is a significant danger, caution environmental groups, that ship owners may elect to have their new ships flagged in countries that provide a waiver. The first guaranteed effective date of the EEDI as a global shipping efficiency standard would thus be 2019.
The SEEMP establishes a mechanism for operators to improve the energy efficiency of ships.
The measures are embodied in amendments which add a new chapter 4 to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations. Other amendments to Annex VI add new definitions and the requirements for survey and certification, including the format for the International Energy Efficiency Certificate.
The regulations apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013.
However, under regulation 19, the Administration may waive the requirement for new ships of 400 gross tonnage and above from complying with the EEDI requirements. This waiver may not be applied to ships above 400 gross tonnage for which:
- the building contract is placed four years after the entry into force date of chapter 4;
- the keel of which is laid or which is at a similar stage of construction four years and six months after the entry into force;
- the delivery of which is after six years and six months after the entry into force; or
- in cases of the major conversion of a new or existing ship, four years after the entry into force date.
Environmental NGOs further caution that because the standard only applies to ships replacing older ones at end life (typically 30 years), and because the waiver will defer implementation for many new ships, the full effects of the decision will take a long time to have any significant impact.
Promotion of technical co-operation. The new chapter includes a regulation on Promotion of technical co-operation and transfer of technology relating to the improvement of energy efficiency of ships, which requires Administrations, in co-operation with IMO and other international bodies, to promote and provide, as appropriate, support directly or through IMO to States, especially developing States, that request technical assistance.
It also requires the Administration of a Party to co-operate actively with other Parties, subject to its national laws, regulations and policies, to promote the development and transfer of technology and exchange of information to States, which request technical assistance, particularly developing States, in respect of the implementation of measures to fulfil the requirements of Chapter 4.
Work plan. The MEPC agreed a work plan to continue the work on energy efficiency measures for ships, to include the development of the EEDI framework for ship types and sizes, and propulsion systems, not covered by the current EEDI requirements and the development of EEDI and SEEMP-related guidelines.
Although not by consensus—which of course would be the ideal outcome—the Committee has now adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI introducing mandatory technical and operational measures for the energy efficiency of ships. Let us hope that the work to follow on these issues will enable all Members to build the consensus that evaded the Committee this time.—IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos
Normally decisions under MARPOL are taken by consensus. The provision exists to adopt decisions by a 2/3 majority of ratifying states representing at least 50% of world maritime tonnage should consensus not be forthcoming. 64 states have ratified MARPOL. Now adopted under MARPOL, the EEDI is binding on all 180 member states of IMO—unless not less than one third (currently 22) of the 64 Parties to MARPOL Annex VI object to the decision before 01 July 2012 (the date of acceptance of the regulation.)
The new measures were approved by a majority of 48 countries in favor, 5 against and 12 abstentions.
IMO—the International Maritime Organization—is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.