Shipping industry set to cut emissions

2011-11-29 11:04

Durban - The world shipping industry could accept a global levy on carbon emissions from merchant ships under a deal that would also channel proceeds to poor countries, according to an announcement at the UN climate talks on Tuesday.

Maritime transport accounts for roughly three percent of world emissions of greenhouse gases.

But, like the aviation industry, it does not have any targeted curbs on this pollution, an omission that green campaigners are fighting to change.

In a joint statement, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), WWF and Oxfam said carbon emissions from merchant ships could be subjected to "market-based measures" as an incentive to reduce greenhouse gases.

Part of the revenue from this could go to a planned Green Climate Fund that, in theory, will provide up to $100bn a year for developing countries most at risk from climate change.

Agreement in principle

WWF's director of international climate policy, Keya Chatterjee, said the deal was "an agreement in principle" and some details, including the carbon price, needed to be hammered out in further negotiations in the UN's specialised shipping organisation.

The ICS, which accounts for more than 80% of the world's merchant fleet, prefers a straightforward levy but the WWF could accept other options, she said.

Chatterjee described the accord as a breakthrough.

Failing to factor in the cost of fossil-fuel pollution from transport was "a subsidy... an enormous failure," she told AFP.

The announcement was made on the second day of talks in Durban under the 194-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe said in the statement that the rules should be crafted under the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO), "with the same rules for carbon reduction applying to all internationally trading ships, but in a manner which respects the principles of the UN climate convention.

"If governments decide that shipping should contribute to the UNFCCC 'Green Climate Fund'," said Hinchcliffe, "the industry can probably support this in principle as long as the details are agreed at the IMO, with the industry's clear preference for a market-based mechanism being a compensation fund linked to the fuel consumption of ships, rather than an emissions trading scheme."

Chatterjee said she hoped the UNFCCC talks, running until December 9, would set a date by which the IMO would craft the rulebook.

- What do you think are the most important issues that should be tackled at COP 17? Publish YOUR thoughts.

  • Just_my_opinion - 2011-11-29 11:27

    As I stated on another article: If the CO2 levels trebled it would be at 0.1% as it's currently only 0.03% just a tiny bit more than nothing! You cannot tell me that the CO2 is what's causing the climate change. Granted the global temperatures are rising and climate is changing, but due to CO2? I don't think so!

      Rob - 2011-11-29 11:39

      Really?, like alcohol?, Whats the difference between .1% and 1% anyway?

      Just_my_opinion - 2011-11-29 11:49

      @ Rob: Because CO2 does not have such huge effect. Just compare with Mars it has CO2 levels at 95% and it's surface temperature is only -55 deg C. Maybe we should increase CO2 to lower global warming!

  • Colin - 2011-11-29 11:33

    When is this nonsense going to stop. CO2 is not responsible for climate change, the climate has been changing for 600 million years. The world average temperatures have been stable for 10 years, the sea levels have been dropping over the last 5 years. CO2 is non toxic and essential to the plant life. All that is happening is that carbon taxes are making the rich richer and the poor poorer! Lets get rid of the real pollution, plastic bags and bottles and emissions that are harm full to our health etc.

      Just_my_opinion - 2011-11-29 11:51

      Fully agree! However I think going back to sail is much more elegant way of propulsion! Wind is for free.

      Dirk - 2011-11-29 13:07

      Finally! Someone who makes sense!!

  • Peka - 2011-11-29 11:43

    This is very easy to commit to - all they have to do to make up the diff that they must pay is raise freight prices

      BA - 2011-11-29 21:46

      Beneficiaries of the funds should also provide guarantees to refund the money when REAL scientists eventually proove that this was just another scam

  • simisha - 2011-11-29 14:47

    @ just my opinion - clearly you have not been fully briefed. climate change is a natural process, nobody is denying that. the current climate change is however been accelerated to over a few hundred years, not over thousands of years like in the past. this means that plants and animals, and humans cannot adapt as fast as they could have previously. I hope that makes sense. Regardless, sustainability is an issue, and we are all living on borrowed time.

  • chris.kleynhans - 2011-11-29 16:07

    Does any of this actually make sense to anybody? Why do I read this and feel so very uncomfortable? What will a tax on the merchant fleet achieve? It will definitely push up the price of most consumer goods which means that it is actually again a tax on the common man. That is one? The money will be going to developing countries...Does that ring any alarm bells? The nicest way to make money disappear is to start with a plan like this..Developing countries will probably have to forfeit more of their freedom in the process..But what is the end result? The merchant fleet has to move and keep moving and probably expand and therefore no greenhouse gas will be the result. Just another clever tax by the fat cat elites at the COP 17 conference will be the result.....Why do we buy into this rubbish?

  • BA - 2011-11-29 21:51

    OK News24 ... What do you think are the most important issues that should be tackled at COP 17? LET's TACKLE THE ISSUE OF SCIENTIFIC PROOF i.e. the graph of %CO2 vs global temperatures + all sources of data. Upload an Excel spreadsheet so that we can look at it.

  • John - 2011-12-05 21:34

    Is this another way for politicians to get more money, put steps in place to get more fuel effiecient vessels, cars, planes and power stations

  • John - 2011-12-05 21:36

    Sad, Targets must be set to reduce carbon emisions from the various industries, otherwise consumers will carry the burden of carbon tax. The aim should be zero carbon emissions

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