Shipping industry urges IMO to develop CO2 reduction pledge for sector

Published 12:37 on February 22, 2016  /  Last updated at 13:15 on February 22, 2016  /  Climate Talks, International, Shipping  /  No Comments

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has urged the UN to craft a non-binding pledge to cut the sector’s global greenhouse gas emissions, but warned that shipping should not be expected to reduce at the same rate as rich nations given its limited abatement options.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has urged the UN to craft a non-binding pledge to cut the sector’s global greenhouse gas emissions, but warned that shipping should not be expected to reduce at the same rate as rich nations given its limited abatement options.

The move piles more pressure on the IMO, the UN’s shipping agency, to agree on global measures to cut CO2 at its upcoming April meeting.

International shipping emissions were withdrawn at a late stage from the Paris pact agreed in December, deferring responsibility to the IMO to curb the sector’s fast-rising GHG output despite the body failing to act in the 18 years since the Kyoto Protocol.

“The message from the UNFCCC Conference (COP-21) and the Paris Agreement is clear. All sectors of the global economy are now expected to determine how they can reach peak CO2 emissions as soon as possible before eventually decarbonizing completely,” ICS said in a submission to the IMO dated Feb. 12.

“ICS agrees that international shipping must play its full part in contributing to this objective.”

ICS said that this would be appropriate given the IMO is on course to complete its work on agreeing a global CO2 data collection system, which is to be made mandatory by 2018.

DIFFERENTIATED, LIMITED, NON-BINDING

The ICS said that expecting international shipping to decarbonise at the same rate as developed nations would be “inconsistent with the ‘spirit of Paris’”, namely the agreement’s principles of allowing nations to determine their own pledges, because more than half of international shipping now services developing economies.

The submission also said shipping is less likely to have as many abatement options as land-based sectors.

ICS said the sector’s goal should mimic the INDC bottom-up style the formed the basis of the Paris Agreement to “avoid the implication that some kind of sanction might follow any reduction target being reached”.

“ICS sees no reason why the international shipping sector should be treated differently and notes that binding global targets have not been developed for any other industrial sector.”

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), the body that meets annually on environment issues, convenes from April 18-22 in London.

Newly-appointed IMO chief Kitack Lim earlier this month said the IMO is likely to consider a GHG target for the sector at the upcoming session.

That was in contrast to his predecessor Koji Sekimizu, who last year spoke out against the need for such a measure as the MEPC rejected a motion to start work on it.

FACTFILE

  • ICS represents 80% of the world’s merchant shipping fleet by tonnage, and it favours a worldwide regulatory regime over regional approaches, which could prove more burdensome for its globally-focused members.
  • The EU in particular has pushed hard to impose GHG reduction measures on international shipping, but the bloc has been hesitant amid international outcry over its unilateral efforts to regulate aviation emissions.
  • International shipping emissions account for 3-4% of worldwide GHG output, but that share is expected to rise as much as five-fold by 2050, according to the IMO.

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

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