The Methanol Institute: Summary of the outcomes of MEPC 81

The 81st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), alongside the preceding Intersessional Working Group on Greenhouse Gases (ISWG GHG 16) meeting, marked a decisive step in the evolution of maritime policy.

This included achieving a general consensus on a target-based standard for fuels, underscoring the global commitment to ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction objectives and the importance of inclusive, actionable regulatory approaches. These developments underscore the urgency for the maritime sector, including the methanol industry, to adapt and actively contribute to these goals, reflecting a shared commitment to a greener maritime future.

Last week’s meetings provided clearer direction towards new regulations on carbon intensity, establishing a standard for reducing the GHG intensity of marine fuels, and economic mechanisms to encourage carbon neutrality.

The in-depth discussions on the GHG Fuel Standard and the GHG pricing mechanism at the ISWG GHG 16 meeting highlight the recognized need to adopt economic measures to facilitate the transition to cleaner fuels. The varying opinions among Member States regarding the design of these mechanisms reflect the complexity of balancing economic and environmental concerns on a global scale.

For the methanol sector, this presents an opportunity to align decarbonization initiatives with emerging regulatory structures, emphasizing flexibility and innovation as keys to overcoming future challenges.

The Methanol Institute urges the IMO to continue focusing on a Well-to-Wake approach based on life cycle analysis (LCA), which includes the entire value chain, allowing all stakeholders to contribute to the development and adoption of solutions within the “IMO NetZero Frameworks”.

The move towards a consensus on the target-based fuel standard and the GHG pricing debate illustrates the growing willingness among Member States to adopt ambitious regulatory frameworks to achieve IMO GHG reduction targets. The economic implications of these mechanisms, especially in terms of income allocation, underscore the challenges of aligning environmental goals with economic development.

Emphasizing the flexibility and adaptability of these mechanisms is crucial to encouraging innovation and facilitating the adoption of ambitious solutions, highlighting the collective approach to achieving IMO’s objectives.

The Methanol Institute supports the creation of an IMO NetZero Fund to manage and distribute collected economic contributions and encourages the IMO to explore all carbon pricing mechanisms to finalize the Global Fuel Standards. Additionally, the Methanol Institute advocates for greater ambition from Member States to establish clear objectives and a legal framework enabling stakeholders to contribute effectively to emission reduction efforts.

The discussions on LCA methodology and the acknowledgment of alternative fuels at the ISWG GHG 16 meeting stress the need for clear regulatory frameworks and guidelines to support the adoption of cleaner fuel solutions, like methanol. The preparations for the expert workshop on medium-term measures further highlight the IMO’s commitment to building on solid scientific and technical foundations.

The majority of Member States’ support for creating an expert working group on emission factors demonstrates a commitment to evidence-based policies and regulations that facilitate technological innovation and the transition to low-GHG fuels. For the methanol industry, this confirms its vital role in meeting the ambitious IMO targets for reducing emissions.

The discussions during MEPC 81 on biofuels reaffirm the growing interest in alternative fuels. While methanol was not mentioned explicitly, the emphasis on the need for clear guidelines for biofuel use paves the way for increased recognition of bio-methanol. It is emphasized that regulatory measures should complement financing mechanisms, working together to achieve climate goals.

As the next Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 82) meeting approaches, scheduled for September 30 to October 4, 2024, we reaffirm our collective commitment to ambitious goals. Furthermore, the suggestion to establish a specific agenda item on the ‘Further development of the IMO well-to-wake framework’ reflects the urgency and significance of developing a comprehensive approach to reducing GHG emissions from ships.

Source: Methanol Institute.

Tags: IMO, MEPC 81, Methanol Institute
Share with your friends