BIMCO tempers GDP growth projections ahead of IMO’s next greenhouse gas study


A global shipowning body has called for regulator International Maritime Organization (IMO) to dismiss high global gross domestic product (GDP) growth projections when addressing its next greenhouse gas (GHG) study, due to get underway next month.

In a release yesterday, BIMCO proposed that the fourth IMO GHG study does not include “unrealistically” high GDP growth forecasts to predict future transport demand – and thereby emissions – of the shipping industry. The proposal has been made to the expert workshop preparing for the study, which is meeting in London for three days from March 12. The global shipping body has also suggested that the IMO expert workshop take the decoupling of GDP growth and transport work into consideration.

“It is imperative that the industry – and the world – base discussions and actions to reduce emissions from shipping on credible and realistic projections. If not, we risk making the wrong decisions and spending resources ineffectively,” said Lars Robert Pedersen, BIMCO deputy secretary general.

BIMCO argues that the fourth IMO GHG study should avoid scenarios 1 and 5 of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSP), as these scenarios project considerably higher short- to mid-term economic growth than current economic trends and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projections.

“The previous study’s most pessimistic projection of a 250% increase in CO2 emissions from shipping has since proven to be totally unrealistic, given the actual and projected economic development of the world. Unfortunately, the 250% projection has frequently been used as a stick against the shipping industry and to shape regional policy. BIMCO wants to avoid that happening again,” Pedersen said.

BIMCO has collaborated with CE Delft, the consultancy that modelled and calculated the third IMO GHG study’s projections in 2014 for future GHG emissions from ships. The revised calculation includes the most recent OECD GDP projections.

The report highlights, that when using a lower GDP growth scenario, the shipping industry is projected to achieve an absolute reduction of 20% versus the target of an absolute emission reduction of 50% by 2050 compared to 2008.

“We will need new solutions, in addition to traditional efficiency measures, to reach the 2050 target. But to pick the right solutions, we need realistic projections,” Pedersen said.