Delegates at a meeting of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) held last week have agreed to evaluate measures to help the shipping industry decrease its carbon footprint.

The IMO session to tackle greenhouse gas emissions precedes the Copenhagen climate change talks where international leaders will thrash out global legislation to reduce harmful emissions and set limits to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

As part of an emergency proposal, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), a group which examines greenhouse gas emissions from ships, will evaluate emissions trading and a bunker levy in the next few months.

Based on a series of initiatives for the shipping industry, MEPC has drafted interim guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions comprising energy-efficiency design index for new vessels, deployment of an energy-efficiency design indicator and the voluntary authentication of the design index for the creation of an energy-efficiency management proposal.