Cablegate: International Maritime Organization (Imo): Report of The

DE RUEHLO #0894/01 0661745
R 071745Z MAR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: The combined annual meeting for both the 1972 London
Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of
Wastes and Other Matter (the 'London Convention') and the 1996
Protocol to the London Convention (the 'London Protocol') took place
in London, October 30 to November 3, 2006. Parties to the London
Protocol adopted an amendment that allows for the sub-seabed
sequestration of carbon dioxide. Essentially, the amendment adds
carbon dioxide streams intended for sequestration as a material that
can be considered for disposal into a sub-seabed geological
formation, if the stream consists "overwhelmingly" of carbon dioxide
and no wastes or other matters are added for the purpose of
disposal. The amendment was approved by vote after a lengthy
debate, with five abstentions and all other votes in favor. The
United States, not a party to the Protocol, could not vote but
advocated in favor of allowing carbon sequestration. This amendment
will provide an additional mechanism by which to combat global
climate change and ocean acidification. Greenpeace International's
assertion that the U.S. Navy's creation of an artificial reef using
a former aircraft carrier was contrary to the aims of the London
Convention was refuted by the U.S. delegation, who explained that
appropriate actions were taken when creating the reef to control
sources of marine pollution and to safeguard the environment. The
meeting also discussed the creation of a compliance mechanism that
needs to be in place by March 2008. A decision was taken to
establish a standing compliance group of 15 members plus observers.
The meeting agreed that a compliance working group will meet for two
days in November 2007 in order to work out the details of the
mechanism. U.S. ratification of the London Protocol before that
time would allow us to participate fully and influence the format
and function of the compliance mechanism. END SUMMARY.

2. Overview and Status of London Convention and Protocol-
The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of
Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (the London Convention) established a
first-ever global regime for the protection of the marine
environment from pollution caused by ocean dumping and incineration
at sea. It now has eighty-one Parties. The United States became a
Party in 1975.

3. The 1996 Protocol to the London Convention (the London
Protocol), a free-standing treaty, represents the culmination of an
intensive effort to update the Convention to reflect current views
on protection of the ocean and scientific improvements in
environmental assessments. The Protocol is intended to eventually
supersede the original London Convention. Unlike the London
Convention, which lists substances that may not be dumped, the
Protocol prohibits ocean dumping of any waste or other matter except
for those specifically allowed to be considered for dumping (a
'reverse list'). The text of the Protocol was adopted by
Contracting Parties to the London Convention parties in 1996, and
the United States signed the Protocol in 1998. The Protocol entered
into force on March 24, 2006. Currently 30 states are Parties to
the 1996 Protocol, with at least nine more (including the United
States) actively working towards accession.

4. CO2 Sequestration Amendment to 1996 Protocol - The most
significant action taken at the meeting was the adoption of an
amendment to the Protocol that would amend Annex 1 (the "reverse
list") to explicitly allow sequestration of "carbon dioxide streams
from carbon dioxide capture processes," provided that: (1) the
sequestration "is into a sub-seabed geological formation," (2) the
CO2 streams to be sequestered "consist overwhelmingly of carbon
dioxide," though they may contain "incidental associated substances
derived from the source material and the capture and sequestration
processes used," and (3) no wastes or other matter are added for the
purpose of disposal. The amendment would not allow sequestration in
the water column.

5. The text of the amendment as adopted was the same as that
proposed by Australia, co-sponsored by France, Norway, and the
United Kingdom, and supported by Spain. Its adoption, however,
followed lengthy debate both in a working group (chaired by Canada)
and in plenary, and a roll call vote. The following twelve
Contracting Parties to the Protocol voted in favor: Australia,
Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia,
Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Vanuatu. Belgium, China,
Denmark, Egypt, and South Africa abstained. The United States (not
a Contracting Party to the Protocol) made an intervention supporting
the amendment.

LONDON 00000894 002 OF 004

6. Delegations in favor of adoption of the amendment noted
generally that CO2 sequestration in sub-seabed geological formations
is one option in a portfolio of measures needed to combat ocean
acidification and climate change; that a number of promising marine
CO2 sequestration projects are under consideration around the world
(notably UK and Norwegian projects in the North Sea and projects off
the coast of Australia); and that a failure of the Protocol to
elaborate the legal framework would hinder commercial-scale
implementation of CO2 sequestration in sub-seabed geological
formations. The sponsors of the amendment, especially Australia,
Norway, and the United Kingdom, were most vocal in its support.

7. Delegations opposed to the amendment claimed that the scientific
uncertainties about site selection, leakage rates, long-term
monitoring, and carbon purity argue for developing specific
guidelines for assessment of CO2 sequestration proposals before
deciding on the proposed amendment. Greenpeace International also
opposed the amendment, drawing attention to the risks of long-term
storage due to impurities co-disposed with the CO2, and recommending
that the amendment require that CO2 streams to be sequestered
consist of 99.9% CO2.

8. The carefully crafted resolution accompanying the amendment was
a key factor in the amendment's adoption. Among other things, the
resolution instructs the London Convention Scientific Group (which
also serves the London Protocol), in accordance with detailed Terms
of Reference, to develop guidance for the assessment of CO2
sequestration in sub-seabed geological formations. The Scientific
Group will work to develop this guidance at a special meeting in
April in Oslo, Norway. The resulting guidelines will then be
finalized at the annual meeting of the Scientific Group in Spain in
June 2007, with a view to their adoption at the Second Meeting of
Contracting Parties in London in November 2007.

9. The Amendment took effect on February 10, 2007, 100 days after
the agreement in London.

10. Compliance Mechanism - Some progress was made on the London
Protocol's compliance mechanism and related procedures, which have
been under discussion for some time and need to be in place by March
2008. Most significantly, the chair of the meeting offered a
proposal that was met with agreement by parties, which established a
small compliance group of nominated experts, with the opportunity
for significant involvement for observers. While the United States
had been pushing for an open-ended working group to allow for
transparency and robust participation, we did not speak out against
the chair's proposal, in part because we were able to get initial
agreement for a 15 member group and also because of the sense that
observers would be able to fully participate in the meetings of the
group. The other main focus of discussion surrounded which entities
would be able to bring compliance matters to the compliance group.
Agreement was reached that a Party could bring a compliance matter
about itself directly to the compliance group. A more controversial
issue was whether a Party could bring a concern about another
Party's compliance directly to the group or whether it had to go
through the Meeting of Contracting Parties. The U.S. supports an
option that would allow such a matter to be brought directly to the
compliance group if the Party about which the compliance matter has
been raised agrees. Otherwise it would go through the Meeting of
Contracting Parties. The group working on this compliance mechanism
will convene November 1-2, 2007, two days before the next Meeting of
Contracting Parties. The Protocol requires the mechanism and
procedures to be in place two years after entry into force (March

11. Placement (for Purpose Other Than Disposal) - An ongoing
discussion within the London Convention concerns the placement of
material into the ocean for purposes other than disposal of that
material, e.g. the creation of artificial reefs. Greenpeace
International delivered a paper asserting that the creation of an
artificial reef out of ex-USS ORISKANY (a former U.S. Navy aircraft
carrier) near the Florida coast violated U.S. obligations under the
London Convention. Article III(1)(b)(ii) of the Convention states
that dumping does not include placement of matter for a purpose
other than the mere disposal thereof, provided that such placement
is not contrary to the aims of the Convention. Greenpeace claims
that creation of the reef was contrary to the aims of the Convention
because the ex-ORISKANY had approximately 700 pounds of PCBs on
board when it was placed on the ocean floor. This position did not
receive any support or other reaction from London Convention Parties
or other observers when the paper was delivered.

LONDON 00000894 003 OF 004

12. The United States responded that the U.S. Navy was required to
clean and prepare the vessel in accordance with the Best Management
Practices Guidance document developed jointly by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Maritime
Administration. Extensive studies performed by the Navy and
reviewed by EPA led the USG to conclude that appropriate actions
were implemented to effectively control any sources of marine
pollution and to safeguard the environment. In response to
follow-up questions from Greenpeace and Spain, the United States
stated that it will make national authorities responsible for the
reefing program aware of the exchange of views at the London
Convention meeting.

13. Scientific Work Group Issues and Actions - The London
Convention has a Scientific Group that meets each spring and works
intersessionally on understanding the technical issues of ocean
dumping. The Parties to the London Protocol decided to establish a
Scientific Group that will meet concurrently with the London
Convention's Scientific Group with the understanding that at future
Scientific Group meetings the offices of Chair and Vice-Chair would
consist of members representing both Parties to the Protocol and to
the Convention. The Chair of the existing (London Convention)
Scientific Group provided an overview of the 29th session of the
Scientific Group (held in June 2006), and the meeting adopted the
recommendations of this 29th Scientific Group session.

14. Topics discussed included development of action lists for
dredged material, administration of a questionnaire for developing
countries, and the status of the Scientific Group's ongoing
development of Specific Guidelines for the Assessment of Carbon
Dioxide Streams for Disposal into Sub -seabed Geological Formations.
The Scientific Group will hold an intersessional technical working
group meeting on CO2 sequestration in sub-seabed geological
formations in Oslo, Norway, April 17-20, 2007.

15. The London Convention parties noted the Scientific Group's
efforts to administer a brief questionnaire for developing countries
during the period July 2006 - March 2007. The questionnaire is
aimed at identifying suitable distribution or marketing mechanisms
for the Protocol's "Waste Specific Guidelines", with a view to
submitting a full report on its outcome, for review by the
Scientific Group at its spring 2007 session. The Scientific Group
will hold its next meeting June 18-22, 2007, in Spain.

16. Other Miscellaneous Issues - Other agenda items discussed at
the London meetings included strategies to improve reporting of
ocean disposal, relations with and outreach to other organizations,
and technical cooperation and assistance. The meeting discussed an
ongoing collaboration through a correspondence group between the
London Convention/Protocol and the IMO's Marine Environment
Protection Committee on clarifying boundary issues between the
London Convention/Protocol and MARPOL Annex V. Various technical
cooperation projects were noted, including technical assistance to
South Africa to improve its compliance with the London Protocol, and
a workshop that took place in China last spring on preventing marine
pollution and environmental management in ports. The meeting
discussed several outreach activities to raise the profile of the
London Protocol and to encourage additional countries to join it,
such as workshops on the Protocol sponsored by the UNEP Regional
Seas Programme.

17. Elections and Meeting Dynamics - This combined London Protocol
and London Convention meeting was ably chaired by Mr. Victor Escobar
of Spain, who was particularly effective in guiding the meeting
through the discussions on the carbon sequestration amendment. The
First Vice-Chair, Ms. Chen Yue from China, did not take an active
role and seemed content to let Mr. Escobar manage the leadership of
the meeting. Mr. Escobar and Ms. Chen were unanimously re-elected
as Chair and First Vice Chair, respectively, for the intersessional
period and the next meetings of the London Convention and London
Protocol, which will be held November 5 to 9, 2007, in London. As
no candidates have been nominated for the post of Second Vice Chair,
the Secretariat will approach possible nominees via appropriate
channels and prepare a shortlist of candidates, focusing on
candidates from developing countries, for consideration by member
states before the next meetings.

18. Comment - The first Meeting of Contracting Parties to the
London Protocol was an important milestone in global efforts to
protect the marine environment. The amendment to allow carbon

LONDON 00000894 004 OF 004

sequestration in sub-seabed geological formations was particularly
significant for the United States. Although we are not yet a Party
(and therefore were not eligible to vote), we still strongly
supported the Australian proposal that was ultimately successful.
The fact that the Protocol Members were able to debate, discuss and
come to agreement on this amendment demonstrates the Protocol's
flexibility in being able to meet changing demands and future
challenges for the better protection of the marine environment.
Despite Greenpeace International's claim that the United States was
acting contrary to the aims of the London Convention through the
U.S. Navy's artificial reef program, the U.S. delegation's
explanation of our careful precautions taken to safeguard the
environment seemed to satisfy the other delegations. Although there
was potential for this to be an awkward issue for the United States,
none of the other delegations seemed interested in supporting
Greenpeace or prolonging discussions on the topic. The Department
and other agencies are now in the process of preparing a
ratification package for the 1996 Protocol, with plans to submit it
to the White House for transmittal to the Senate for ratification in
the near term. U.S. membership in the Protocol will affirm our
leadership role in international efforts to control marine pollution
and protect the environment of the world's oceans.


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