On June 3, 2021 The Department of State conducted an open meeting of the Shipping Coordinating Committee via teleconference The agenda items to be considered at the Committee mirror those to be considered at 76th Session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 76) and include: the IMO’s continued work on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, air pollution prevention, energy efficiency of ships, harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water, marine plastic litter from ships, a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil as ship’s fuel in the Arctic, amendments to the Anti-Fouling Convention, and other ongoing items for the protection of the marine environment. Not all the 206 papers that were submitted were discussed.
The meeting was chaired by Jeff Lantz the USCG’s Director of Regulations and Standards who is also Head of the US Delegation to MEPC. Industry representatives on the call included Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA), World Shipping Council (WSC), Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), the Transportation Institute (TI), American Waterway Operators (AWO), Pacific Environment (PE), Ocean Conservancy (OC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Liberian Shipowners Council (LSC), Lake Carriers Association (LCA) and Greek Shipowners (UGS).
At the outset of the meeting, Mr. Lance stated due to the virtual nature of MEPC76 no working groups would be formed during the session. MEPC 76/1/1 Add.1 is the document summarizing the MEPC Chair’s proposed arrangements for the remote session. Within these comments it was mentioned that some agenda items would be tackled via correspondence, virtual drafting group and/or extended to MEPC 77.
Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships is agenda item 7 of the MEPC 76 Agenda. As lead US Negotiator on Climate for the US Department of State, Mr. Aaron Pratt presented on this agenda item.
Instead of going through each of the 86 papers submitted under this agenda item, Mr. Pratt talked about recent announcements by the Biden-Harris Administration to tackle the climate crisis, since rejoining the Paris Agreement, and the announcement that they will push other IMO members to adopt a goal of achieving “zero emissions” from international shipping by 2050.
Mr. Pratt also mentioned US participation in the High Ambition Coalition for Shipping Group. He also reiterated the US position that the proposed carbon intensity reduction rate is not enough to reach the 2030 targets. Last week at the GHG Intersessional Working Group virtual meeting, the US was one of a significant number of member states to reject portions of the GHG reductions proposals headed for MEPC 76.
Regarding the International Maritime Research Board (IMRB) and the International Marine Research Fund, the US has its concerns about the approach, its current distractions within the current agenda and the mandatory levy involved.
Pratt also announced that US has signed on as a co-lead of the Mission Innovation maritime challenge. The US will also seek to focus the work of the GHG Intersessional Working Group on midterm measures, which could include Market Based Measures, Carbon Intensity Standards and Fuel Regulations. More specifically, the Mission Innovation Zero-Emission Shipping Mission is part of the global initiative of 22 countries and the European Commission (EC) which aims to spearhead innovation and drive investment in clean energy research, development, and demonstrations. The US is also working midterm measures proposal with Norway.
The full report of the Committee Meting can be found below.