Hard Liners vs. Laggards, Understanding IMO’s Role in Accelerating or Hindering the Climate Transition

Michael Prehn, Federico Jensen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Global governance mechanisms and international organizations have been considered by many the main arena for the creation of climate goals and the forming of regulation to implement said goals. These authors have perceived these international organizations as the main orchestrators of action in a scattered field the interests. Therefore, this paper asks: What is the role of the IMO in accelerating or hindering the decarbonization in shipping? To answer this question, this paper employs qualitative methods and a new theorization of the concept of orchestration focusing on the role of private organizations and lobbying in orchestrating international governance: private orchestration. The data which comprises this study is derived from participant observation in the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) 75th meeting, interviews with IMO representatives and documentary evidence from IMO Docs database. We argue that whether the IMO accelerates or hinders the process of decarbonization
of the shipping industry depends on the negotiating positions of states and industry actors and the strategic alliances between them. The positions of industry actors are especially relevant as orchestrators and provides for high levels of influence, taking away the orchestrating role of the IMO in the policy process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists. IAME 2021: Accelerating Transitions - Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 25 Nov 202127 Nov 2021
Conference number: 29


ConferenceThe Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists. IAME 2021
LocationErasmus University Rotterdam
Internet address


  • IMO
  • Private orchestration
  • GHG regulation
  • Environmental governance

Cite this