By Bill Hemmings, aviation and shipping directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: 2015 ended with big promises from the UN aviation and shipping bodies, ICAO and the IMO, that they’d finally act to rein in their sectors’ substantial and growing climate impact. It has been almost 20 years since they were first tasked with doing so by the Kyoto Protocol, and 2016 would be their last chance.
The poisonous sulphur content of marine fuels is to be capped at 0.5% by the year 2020, a move that is expected to prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, mainly in the developing world. T&E applauded the decision by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which had considered delaying the limit by five years but, after a sustained campaign by environmental groups, stayed with its original deadline.
The pressure on Europe to take action on shipping’s climate emissions is building after the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) decided last month to delay by at least a further seven years any decision on a global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from ships. Leading members of the European Parliament called the delay an abject failure by national governments and the shipping industry.
Governments last month failed even to agree on developing a work plan to determine shipping’s ‘fair share’ contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris deal. Despite there being a clear majority in support of the move, a minority led by China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and the Cook Islands blocked a consensus to move forward. The issue was put back on the agenda of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) environment committee for when it next meets in October.
Newly-built ships covered by the design fuel efficiency standard have much the same efficiency performance as those not covered, according to a new independent study. This is because the current targets are too weak, say T&E.