Monday 19th Nov, 2018

ICS calls for carbon compromise on shipping emissions

Chris Mackey
Chris Mackey

NATIONS should use upcoming IMO meetings to seek compromise over emissions controls, the International Chamber of Shipping says.

The Chamber also praised proposals from China and Japan while casting doubt on the efficacy of some of those from EU member states.

ICS chairman Esben Poulsson indicated the “very high level” of ambition proposed by these EU states – a 70% to 100% cut in emissions before 2050 – was unlikely to achieve consensus support.

“While ICS does not fully agree with them in every respect, alternative proposals made by China and Japan merit serious consideration and could form the basis of a possible compromise,” Mr Poulsson said.

“China in particular seems to have made a real effort to move away from its previous opposition to establishing CO2 reduction goals for the sector’s total emissions. If EU nations want a global agreement, they should acknowledge this by similarly modifying their own positions.”

Mr Poulsson said governments on all sides of the debate were going to need to show far more willingness to compromise on their current positions or endanger a meaningful agreement strategy.

“This would greatly undermine the authority of IMO and the future sustainability of the shipping industry,” he said.

“Agreement upon a mid-century objective for the total reduction of CO2 emissions by the sector, regardless of trade growth, will be vital to discourage unilateral action and to provide the signal needed to stimulate the development of zero CO2 fuels.”

The ICS suggested if the IMO were to set an initial objective of cutting the sector’s total CO2 emissions by, for example half rather than 70% to 100%, it would still require a major improvement in ship efficiency. And, with a projected increase in maritime trade, this would still only be possible with the widespread use of zero CO2 fuels.

“A mid-century objective similar to that proposed by Japan – which might also enjoy support from nations like China if EU nations were willing to compromise – would still provide a compelling signal to the industry,” Mr Poulsson said.

“This should also be sufficient to stimulate the development of zero CO2 fuels leading to a 100% CO2 reduction in line with the ambitious vision which IMO must agree.”

ICS has previously proposed the need for an ambitious vision in the IMO strategy, making it clear that the ultimate goal is the elimination of all CO2 emissions from international shipping sometime between 2050 and 2100, or as soon as the worldwide availability of zero CO2 fuels makes this possible.

In advance of zero CO2 fuels becoming available globally, the industry has also proposed that IMO should adopt the following objectives:

  • Objective 1 – to maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels;
  • Objective 2 – to reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-kilometre, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008; and
  • Objective 3 – reduce international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction.

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