Earlier this year, as we reported in this blog, the IMO agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2050. Hopes that concrete measures might emerge from MEPC 73 which concluded on Friday have been disappointed. Two proposals were put forward which would make an immediate impact on reducing shipping’s GHG emissions – capping ship speeds and higher efficiency standards for new build container ships from 2022 – but neither was approved. Further work on this issue will continue next year in MEPC 74.
Other issues considered in MEPC 73 were a proposed ban on use of heavy fuels in the Arctic from by the end of 2021 which will be further developed by the Pollution Prevention and Response subcommittee at its meeting in February 2019.
The IMO has also had its ‘Blue Planet’ moment by developing an action plan to address marine plastic litter from ships, and ship based activities. The plan identifies a number of actions, which will be reviewed at MEPC 74 prior to further work being undertaken, including a proposed study on marine plastic litter from ships and looking into the availability and adequacy of port reception facilities