PICAN Webinar: What happened at MEPC80 and what’s next for 6PAC+? - 3 August 2023
PICAN Webinar: The Journey from the Pacific to London - IMO for Climate Justice – 22 June 2023
For more information on the Webinar - From the Pacific to London: IMO For Climate Justice, please click here.
We, Pacific Elders, deeply concerned with the security impacts of climate change, call upon the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as the UN agency mandated to regulate international shipping, to take meaningful strides in steering the industry towards full decarbonization achieving the 1.5° C targets. We note that the IMO adopted an Initial Strategy for reducing emissions from the sector in 2018 and is expected to adopt a Revised Strategy in early July at the MEPC80.
We would also like to highlight the significance of this meeting for shipping, regional and international trade and climate action generally. The matters under negotiation at MEPC80 will have long-term consequences for our economic and societal futures. As many commentators and experts have noted, MEPC80 is the industry’s last opportunity to secure a 1.5°C aligned pathway. Failure to agree on a Revised Strategy will result in a patchwork of regional measures, further isolating developing countries as decarbonization becomes more expensive, and leave them grappling with the impacts on their small and fragile economies with no assistance or intervention.
The Pacific Elders’ Voice (PEV) will be meeting in London on 1st July 2023. The timing of this meeting falls between two important events of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) - the 15th Intersessional Working Group (ISWG 15) meeting, being held from 26th to 30th June, and the 80th Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC80) meeting, being held from 2nd to 7th July. The MEPC80 meeting potentially signifies international shipping’s last chance to ensure a strategy that is aligned with a 1.5°C trajectory, as had been agreed in the Paris Agreement. The PEV meeting is themed "Ramping Up Ambition in IMO: Looking to the Future through the Past."
The meeting brings together former Pacific Islands’ Heads of State (Pacific Elders), a “veteran” Pacific negotiator and two young negotiators in an intergenerational dialogue to reflect on the past, review the progress on 1.5°C in the IMO to date, and discuss the aims and hopes that drive today’s Pacific voice in these negotiations.
Project Cerulean - A Vast Ocean of Possibility to Explore
In 2018 Swire Shipping and the University of the South Pacific launched a new project to research and design a low-carbon wind powered, commercially-operated freighter to stimulate outer-island Pacific trade. Route analysis by the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport (MCST) demonstrated a marginal but viable business case if the vessel could be built within budget. Collaboration with French ship design firm, VPLP resulted in this design for a 40m ship initially targeting the copra trade between RMI, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Fiji. Spiralling costs in all aspects of ship construction following the Covid pandemic and subsequent global logistic chain crisis has seen shipyards with overflowing order books. With build quotes nearing double initial estimates, the business case is no longer viable, and Swire have made the decision not to proceed further at this time.
While the project has not resulted in a new vessel, the research collaboration has provided a much-improved understanding of the challenges facing inter-island transport connectivity under the current conditions. Most importantly, the project has provided an immense amount of information and detailed analysis on deploying Wind-Assisted Ship Propulsion (WASP) vessels, designed for the specific range of operational conditions in Pacific island countries and capable of responding to the needs of remote island communities. MCST’s lead researcher of the Cerulean Project, Andrew Irvin, discusses the research findings and why the research platform gained is so important for the Pacific’s forthcoming transition to low carbon shipping.