MEPC 78 – GHG Reductions

Last week delegates to the 78th Session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC78) participated in a “hybrid format” with some attending in-person in London while most of the delegate attended virtually. Out of the 104 documents submitted ahead of the meeting, forty-three focused on Agenda item 7, formally titled, “Reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from Ships”. Certain submissions had been reviewed prior to the meeting. PV50 participated in the listening session as part of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Delegation.

As contained in the draft report from IMO the following items were discussed:

  • Proposals related to revision of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy
  • Outcome of the 12th Intersessional Working Group on GHG Reductions (ISWG-GHG 12) in conjunction with proposals for mid-term GHG reduction measures and the establishment of the International Maritime Research and Development Board
  • Outcome of 11th Intersessional Working Group on GHG Reductions (ISWG GHG 11) – Lifecycle GHG/carbon intensity for marine fuels
  • Proposals related to onboard CO2 capture

Revision of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy

At the outset of this discussion regarding proposals related to revision of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy, delegates were given the following instructions from the MEPC Chair that they must try to:

  • Identify target years for implementation
  • Focus on proposals related to ensuring a fair and just transition
  • Ensure the revision to the Initial Strategy is finalized before MEPC 80 (2023)

There was an extended exchange amongst delegations on this topic, but no consensus could be reached. Member States are split between those calling for full decarbonization by 2050, and those asking for additional assessments on feasibility and impacts on Member States before such a decision can be made. The work will continue via correspondence and additional working group with a decision being made at MEPC 80 in July of 2023. MEPC 79 is scheduled for December of this year. A 13th Intersessional Working Group will be held back to back with MEPC 79.

Proposals for mid-term GHG Reduction Measures

Many of the proposals discussed initially proposed at the 12th Intersessional Working Group on GHG Reductions (ISWG-GHG 12) held last month. These include:

•           A levy system based on absolute well-to-wake GHG emissions. The GHG price is determined by the IMO.

•           A levy system based on CII performance, where ships with CII performance lower than a benchmark pay a contribution per ton CO2, and ships with performance above the benchmark receiving a reward. The contribution is determined by the IMO, while the reward depends on the level of achievement of the fleet.

•           A levy system based on complete tank-to-wake CO2 emissions where the revenues are partially used to provide a direct rebate to zero-emission vessels. The IMO then determines the CO2 price and rebate.

•           An emissions cap-and-trade system, like the EU ETS, where the well-to-wake GHG emission level is set by the IMO and allowances are negotiated. The carbon price is then determined by the market.

Some delegations proposed technical measures in the form of a well-to-wake GHG intensity fuel standard. Further discussion on this topic were deferred to ISWG-GHG-13, the intersessional meeting held back to back with MEPC 79. The decision on which measures to develop into regulations will be made at MEPC 80 in July 2023.

Outcome of ISWG GHG 11 – Lifecycle GHG/Carbon Intensity for Marine Fuels

ISWG GHG-11 developed draft guidelines on lifecycle GHG/carbon intensity for marine fuels. The work will continue through a correspondence group with a final report being submitted to reporting to MEPC 80 in July 2023.

On-board CO2 Capture

Time restrictions prevented any lengthy discussion was held on provisions for considering on-board CO2 capture relative to EEDI and CII ratings. The work was deferred to a correspondence group that will report to MEPC 80 in July 2023.

Several resolutions and circulars were approved at MEPC 78 for guidelines for Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP), IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database (DCS), calculating Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicators (CII).

Published by MKD PV50

Margaret Kaigh Doyle has spent three decades working in the maritime and energy sectors. Doyle served four terms as an appointed member of the US Coast Guard Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC), most recently chairing its LNG Fuels Subcommittee. In 2014, Doyle was responsible for developing and delivering the first set of LNG Bunkering Courses in North America. In 2017, she worked as a member of the prep team for Eagle LNG Partners Talleyrand Bunkering Depot, designed and built specifically to fuel the Crowley Dual Fuel ConRo Vessels. Doyle has also participated on the U.S. Delegation to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on LNG matters and serves as a value contributor to the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), SEALNG and the Society for Marine Gas as Fuel (SGMF). She is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and holds advanced degrees in engineering from The George Washington and Pennsylvania State Universities.

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