Oxfam and WWF Join With Shipowners At COP17

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:

  1. As an incentive for the industry to invest in more fuel efficient ships and to operate them more energy efficiently
  2. 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.”


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Photo: Flickr user, adrefaria


K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

John Mansky
John Mansky6 years ago

Thank you for the article...

gary c.
Gary C6 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Great news. Thanks.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson6 years ago


Christine Stewart
Christine S6 years ago

Remember, the best way to help endangered animals and their habitat is to help impoverished, hungry people who can't afford to send their kids to school! Desperate people will poach animals for rich Asian palates, and clearcut forests to cook food for their children- because a solar cooker won't make breakfast or dinner when you start your day before sun-up, and end your day at sun down.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Pleasing news.

Penny C.
penny C6 years ago

Good news.

Sue Jones
Sue Jones6 years ago

At least some are taking this seriously. Thanks, Gina.