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The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Why we can’t allow climate talks to become a COP out

Listen to the latest edition of the Lloyd’s List’s weekly podcast — your free weekly briefing on the stories shaping shipping

COP27 failed to deliver much in the way of progress. For shipping, though, the next steps in the IMO are what will determine the trajectory of whatever happens next. Fail to agree the detail and a complex, costly future awaits. There are positive signs that shipping is at least now having the right conversations, but is this too little, too late? This week’s edition of the Lloyd’s List Podcast explores the impact of climate talks on shipping and what happens next.

After the disappointments of COP27, and let’s face it, there was a lot to be disappointed about, attention now turns to what the International Maritime Organization can achieve by way of solid climate strategy.

Between here and June next year, the revision of shipping’s current measly 50% greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets aimed at 2050, will be upped to something closer to zero by 2050.

But you will be unsurprised to hear that there is fair bit of detail left to get to before Greta Thunberg sets sail for Albert Embankment to check out whether this manages to go beyond the: “Blah, blah, blah.” 

The details of that zero, assuming it ever emerges, are what matters. They will determine the future of the industry, so the pressure is on.

What happens at the IMO matters because the detail determines whether this works, or whether it is a leaky, offsetting exercise.

Part of the reason everyone is currently criticising the carbon intensity indicator regulations about to take effect with an enforcement regime featuring teeth made from jelly, is because the underlying agreements at the IMO were so weak.

If we are going to get the next phase of shipping climate strategy right, we need to be sure that the detail is robust. For that to happen, the right discussions needed to have happened at COP and then need to be translated into the IMO.

So that is why we are conducting a slightly delayed review of what happened at COP27 in the podcast this week, with a focus on what that now means going forward into the IMO meetings.

To help explain the significance of the developments, we have drafted in a super-sized team of international experts to offer analysis this week, including:

 

  • Faïg Abbasov, shipping programme director at the non-governmental organisation Transport & Environment.

  • Simon Bergulf, director for regulatory affairs at A.P. Møller-Maersk

  • Katharine Palmer, shipping lead UN High-Level Champions for Climate Action 

  • Johannah Christensen, chief executive of the Global Maritime Forum

  • Professor Alice Larkin, head of the school of engineering and a professor in climate science and energy policy as part of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change

  • Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping

  • Tristan Smith, associate professor in energy and transport at University College London

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