IMO urged to recognise carbon capture as means of meeting emission targets

Ahead of the opening of MEPC 76, Norway-based marine engineering specialist TECO 2030 urged the IMO to recognise the role carbon capture will play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.

Ahead of the opening of MEPC 76, Norway-based marine engineering specialist TECO 2030 urged the IMO to recognise the role carbon capture will play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, as not enough vessels will undergo fuel switches to meet the climate targets.

The IMO aims to reduce carbon intensity in international shipping by 40% by 2030, and to cut the total annual greenhouse gas emissions from the sector by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. However, the regulatory framework setting out how this should be achieved is still not decided and will be up for discussion during MEPC 76.

“The IMO has so far mainly focused on how energy efficiency and alternative fuels can help to decarbonise the maritime sector. We agree that these issues are paramount, but focusing only on these will probably not be sufficient if we are to reach the emission reductions targets for international shipping,” says Stian Aakre, CEO of TECO 2030. “When we look at the fuel consumption predictions for the maritime industry towards 2050, we see that onboard carbon capture will also likely be needed. This is because not enough of the existing vessels will be either rebuilt to utilise more climate-friendly fuels or be replaced by lower emission ships before the drafted deadlines. We therefore urge the IMO to include carbon capture in its upcoming regulatory framework, as this would stimulate technological development within the industry and ensure that the necessary infrastructure will be built”.

During the meeting, which will take place virtually and is due to last until 17 June, the main topic on the agenda is the progress on the process of reducing emissions in international shipping.

Ahead of the meeting, countries across the world seem to be somewhat divided on the issue of whether carbon capture technology can be expected to play a role in reducing shipping emissions.

Norway and some other countries are unsupportive, as they believe the technology is still too immature. South Korea, on the other hand, has submitted a detailed proposal for how new legislation can take into account the future role of onboard carbon capture technology in reducing emissions from ships. “We believe significant progress regarding how the maritime industry should be decarbonised will be made at this meeting. We hope the industry will be left with a clearer picture of how they should move forward over the coming years,” said Aakre.

TECO 2030 also hopes that any future international legislation regarding decarbonisation of the global shipping fleet will be technology neutral. “We understand that the debate to some extent must touch upon different technological options. But ideally, we think the best way forward is for legislators and regulators like the IMO and the EU to develop strategies and set the targets and limits, rather than to relate these to specific technologies. In doing so, the evolving legislative landscape will instead stimulate the industry to develop the technologies that are needed to reach these targets,” Aakre concluded.

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