US president Donald Trump’s decision to remove the US from the Paris climate accord, which aims to prevent temperatures from rising 2°C above pre-industrial levels by curbing carbon emissions, is going to have a “coordinating” effect on other countries to limit carbon emissions through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Peter Hinchcliffe told Argus.
The shipping sector, which the IMO estimated accounted for 2.2pc of global carbon emissions in 2012, was not included in the Paris agreement.
The US exit could now trigger some other countries to join together and produce carbon emissions regulations for shipping, said Hinchcliffe.
“I expect China sees [the US withdrawal] as an opportunity to step up and I think that will make a difference”, said Hinchcliffe.
The IMO, composed of 172 member states, regulates shipping air emissions on the high seas through the MARPOL Annex VI convention, which the US is party to.
Since 2011 the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) regulations have guided carbon emissions reduction in the shipping industry. The EEDI dictates that allowable CO2 emission levels decrease every five years and by 2025 all new build vessels must be at least 30pc more efficient in their class than a 2000-2010 baseline.
The EEDI was the first legally binding climate change treaty to be adopted since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, said the IMO.
Work to further limit carbon emissions in the IMO is carried out by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which last year approved a roadmap through 2023 for developing a comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships.