At the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa (COP 17), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Oxfam and WWF joined together to suggest how reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping should be regulated. The ICF represents over 80 percent of the world merchant fleet. The three organizations called on delegates to COP 17 to give the International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidance on reducing emissions through the development of Market Based Measures (MBMs). An MBM would put a price on GHG emissions from international shipping.
In July, the IMO decided to adopt regulations to reduce GHG emissions, which would apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage, and will go into effect on January 1, 2013. The regulations would be the first-ever mandatory global GHG emissions reduction regime for an international industry sector. The regulations would reduce carbon emissions, it is estimated, from international shipping by up to 200 million tons by 2020, could save ship operators $50 billion in fuel costs, and improve energy efficiency by 20 percent. By 2030, the regulations are estimated to save 240 million tons of carbon a year.
“We are very pleased that the shipping industry acknowledges its responsibility to play its part in further reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative.
Smith added, “We agree with shipowners that the best place to work out the details of how shipping’s emissions can be tackled using Market Based Measures will be at the International Maritime Organization, and that a strong political signal by political leaders in Durban showing their determination to make progress on this will help accelerate that process.”
Although international shipping is estimated to be only 2.7 percent of global carbon emissions, , according to 2007 figures, if nothing is done to reduce carbon emissions, by 2050 they could grow by a factor of two to three as a result of growth in shipping.
The IMO decided in July that a MBM is needed, which would generate a significant amount of funds that could be redistributed in developing countries to help them adapt to climate change. A MBM would also serve two main purposes:
- As an incentive for the industry to invest in more fuel efficient ships and to operate them more energy efficiently
- Offsetting (in other sectors) of growing ship emissions
“Industry and civil society actors agree that shipping emissions can be regulated in a way which is fair to developing countries and could help generate the resources they need to tackle climate change,” said Tim Gore, Oxfam climate change policy advisor. “It’s vital that governments meeting this month at the UN climate talks in Durban give the signal needed to move such a deal forward in the International Maritime Organization.”
Photo: Flickr user, adrefaria