A newly published International Maritime Organisation study shows that technical and operational measures could reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by up to 75%, with a cut of around 20% possible without additional costs.

 

A newly published International Maritime Organisation study shows that technical and operational measures could reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by up to 75%, with a cut of around 20% possible without additional costs.

The Second IMO GHG Study (2009) includes details of shipping's contribution to climate change as well as information about strategies for reducing emissions. Emissions of CO2 from international shipping in 2007 are estimated at 870 million tonnes or 2.7% of total global emissions. This is projected to rise to 6% of global emissions by 2020. At present there are no GHG emission reduction obligations for international shipping.

The IMO GHG Study (2009) identifies a number of technical and operational options for reducing CO2 emissions from shipping including speed reductions, improved vessel hull and engine design, and the use of renewables. The Study estimates that improved ship design alone can reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by between 10-50%, while improved operational arrangements could result in another 10-50% reduction. The two approaches combined could reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 75%.

Very substantial emission reductions are not only possible, but a marginal abatement cost analysis in the Study concludes that, by 2020, existing ships could, without incurring any additional costs, have reduced their CO2 emissions by 255 million tonnes: a 20% reduction in emissions without it costing the industry a single euro.

The Study also identifies market-based instruments as “cost effective policy instruments with high environmental effectiveness” providing “strong incentives to technological change”.

The Study is a rallying call for industry and IMO member states to get stuck in and start the process of dealing with GHG emissions from shipping. The first opportunity for this comes with the 59th session of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) which takes place in London in July.

 

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