Mixed feelings from IMO on COP15

30 Dec 2009

Mitropoulos - mixed feelings from COP15

The IMO Secretary General speaks out about the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference

The International Maritime Organization has viewed COP15 with a degree of disappointment at the lack of positive outcome, though it remains optimistic that the goals can still be achieved.

Commenting on the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15), IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said: “Like many others, who have made comments on the outcome of COP 15, I have viewed the end result of the Copenhagen Conference with mixed feelings: with concern that the target initially pursued, following the 2007 Bali Conference, of a legally binding instrument, was not achieved; with measured satisfaction that, through the Accord tabled at the end of the deliberations, a step in the right direction was taken enabling progress to be made towards a legally binding instrument; and with hope that, following new rounds of consultations to be held post-Copenhagen, the required consensus on action needed to be taken to save the planet will be reached at the next Conference – possibly in Mexico one year from now.

"Notwithstanding the outcome of COP 15, the international maritime community stands ready to build on the momentum created in Copenhagen by contributing further to the attainment of the objectives set through the 2005 IMO Action Plan, namely the putting in place of a comprehensive regulatory regime aimed at limiting or reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships. To that end, we have already made good progress through a partnership of our Member States, the shipping industry and civil society interests. We can, therefore, move forward now, through our Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), to complete that Action Plan and to enact the standards, measures and mechanisms required to that effect.

"While the outcome of COP 15 gives us more time to make real progress in our work, at the same time it creates an increased obligation on IMO to intensify its efforts so that it may be able to present, to COP 16/17, concrete results as evidence not only of its determination to play its part in the world efforts to stem climate change and global warming but also of its continued capability to serve the environment, as it has successfully done over the years through its measures to prevent pollution of the seas from oil and other vessel-originated sources and, most recently, air pollution from ships.

"We will study carefully the text that emerged from COP 15 to see what, if any, repercussions it may have on shipping and our work, and will report to MEPC 60 (March 2010) on the outcome of our findings so that appropriate action – including re-adjusting our work plan so that the contribution of shipping is equitable, commensurate and proportionate to that of other activities – can be taken, as appropriate, on a priority basis.”

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