June 17, 2008
U.K. Minister wants to "put a price on carbon" for ships
The drumbeat for some sort of carbon tax on international shipping keeps rolling.
U.K. Transport Minister Ruth Kelly is among those pressing for tougher action on emissions from ships.
Speaking at the ceremonial reopening of IMO's London headquarters, Mrs. Kelly noted that at a time of rising food and energy prices, the maritime sector must continue meeting demand efficiently and profitably if it is to support the global economy.
"But," she declared, "long-term rising demand presents its own challenges - the most urgent and serious of which is shipping's contribution to climate change."
Noting estimates that shipping accounts for up to 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions--and that its contribution is accelerating, she said "I think we all need to agree that more must be done to alleviate maritime carbon emissions.
Calling for the problem to be tackled on an international level, she said that meant looking at the potential for new technologies like hydrogen fuel cells, and for operational improvements, "such as slowing down ships to maximize fuel efficiency."
"And it means that proposals for putting a price on carbon through a global emissions trading scheme must be carefully assessed. Such a scheme would provide incentives to the industry to improve the carbon efficiency of ships, and ensure reductions in emissions were achieved at minimum cost."