The Issue

Regulatory developments: IMO GHG Strategy

Back in April 2018, IMO adopted the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships (Resolution MEPC.304(72)). This strategy was revised in 2023, through the adoption of Resolution MEPC.377(80) confirming IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, to phasing them out as soon as possible.

The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy identifies four levels of ambition:

  1. Carbon intensity of the ship to decline through further improvement of the energy efficiency for new ships
    to review with the aim of strengthening the energy efficiency design requirements for ships;
  2. Carbon intensity of international shipping to decline
    to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 2008;
  3. Uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources to increase
    uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies fuels and/or energy sources to represent at least 5%, striving for 10%, of the energy used by international shipping by 2030; and
  4. GHG emissions from international shipping to reach net zero
    to peak GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible and to reach net-zero GHG emissions by or around, i.e. close to, 2050, taking into account different national circumstances, whilst pursuing efforts towards phasing them out as called for in the Vision consistent with the long-term temperature goals set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.

What is shipping’s contribution to global CO2 emissions?

According to the Fourth IMO GHG Study 2020, CO2 emissions from shipping (both international and domestic) accounts for approximately 2.89% of global anthropogenic emissions.

Depending on different socio-economic and energy scenarios, emissions are projected to increase from about 90% of 2008 emissions in 2018 to 90-130% of 2008 emissions by 2050.

GreenVoyage2050 was established with the overall goal to support implementation of the IMO GHG Strategy. Recognizing that developing countries, in particular LDCs and SIDS, have special needs with regard to capacity-building and technical cooperation, the project aims to work together with selected developing countries. Aligned with this, the project aims to strengthen MARPOL Annex VI compliance, the regulatory instrument which contains global mandatory technical and operational energy efficiency measures for ships, namely, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), and through which the IMO GHG Strategy is operationalised.

Please consult the IMO Website for more information about the regulatory developments.