The U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 21) gets underway on Nov. 30 and it will be interesting to see if it comes forward with any recommendations for shipping.
Last month, the International Transport Forum, a think tank affiliated with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), called on COP 21 to agree to a “package” of three
- An absolute emissions target for shipping that would limit global warming to 1.5° C or 2° C.
- A mandate for the U.N.’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop an action plan with concrete measures to reach the emission target. These measures would include lower ship speeds, increased ship utilization, more energy-efficient ship designs, and use of alternative fuels such as LNG.
- A carbon tax for the shipping sector.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), a trade organization whose membership includes national shipowners’ associations from 37 countries representing more than 80 percent of the world merchant fleet, was quick to respond to the recommendations.
“While shipping may currently have CO2 emissions comparable to a major OECD economy, it is inappropriate for the ITF to propose that the industry should be treated like an OECD economy,” ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe said.
The chamber said the proposed $25-per-ton carbon price “would be almost three times higher than the carbon price paid by shore-based industries in developed nations.”
If the IMO decides to adopt a shipping market-based mechanism, the chamber said “the industry’s clear preference is for a fuel levy, rather than an emissions trading scheme or other complex alternatives that would distort global shipping markets.”
Meanwhile, ICS pointed to the industry’s accomplishments to date, stating shipping has “already reduced its total CO2 emissions by more than 10 percent (2007-2012) and CO2 per ton-mile by around 20 percent (2005-2015). It is therefore on course for carbon neutral growth.”
This commentary was published in the November 2015 issue of American Shipper.