Impact assessment of a mandatory operational goal-based short-term measure to reduce GHG emissions from ships: the LDC/SIDS case study

Harilaos N. Psaraftis*, Thalis Zis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to describe the impact assessment of a mandatory operational goal-based short-term measure to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions from ships. The specific measure has been proposed by Denmark and other co-sponsors in the context of the relevant discussion at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and in particular the so-called Initial IMO Strategy. The IMO is a specialized United Nations agency that regulates shipping. The Initial IMO Strategy, adopted in 2018, has been the most recent major international environmental agreement on how to reduce GHG emissions from ships at a global level. The central research question in this paper is to ascertain the potential impacts of the aforementioned measure to least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS). There are concerns that such states may be negatively impacted, or even disproportionately negatively impacted, by whatever measure is decided by the IMO. After gaps in the literature and data are identified, our methodology develops a list of potential negative impacts, and looks at a set of factors that may influence these impacts. Then, we discuss how the goal-based measure may impact LDCs/SIDs as regards each of the identified negative impacts. The analysis argues that for LDCs and SIDS a risk for negative and disproportionately negative impacts exists. The only negative impact of which both the probability and the consequence are considered high is the difficulty to finance retrofitting of old ships or investment in new ships. As such, this is likely a disproportionally negative impact. At the same time, the degree of share (or responsibility) of the goal-based measure with respect to such potential negative impacts, vis-à-vis the share of other factors contributing to these impacts, cannot be precisely ascertained, even though we conjecture this share to be low.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Number of pages23
ISSN1567-9764
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Green house gases
  • Shipping
  • Impact assessment
  • IMO
  • Least developed countries
  • Small island developing states

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