Shipping set to reduce carbon footprint further

Shipping is the most efficient form of transportation Shipping is the most efficient form of transportation

NOVEMBER 30, 2014—The global shipping industry is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, according to the International Chamber of Shipping.

Ocean shipping is one of the most efficient forms of transportation, moving around 90% of global trade. For example, a very large container ship (18,000 TEU) emits about 3 grams of CO2 per tonne-km as compared with a 747 aircraft that emits 435 grams of CO2 per tonne-km.

During 2012, it produced about 2.2% of the total world greenhouse gas emissions as compared with 2.8% in 2007. Shipping’s total emissions have reduced by more than 10% during the same period.

The news comes in advance of the United Nations Climate Conference in Lima, Peru, December 1-12. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) expects global shipping to further reduce its carbon footprint going forward.

The shipping industry is the only industrial sector that is already covered by a binding global agreement to reduce its CO2 emissions, through technical and operational measures agreed—with full industry support—by its global regulator, the London-based International Maritime Organization (IMO)

ICS explains that the IMO is now developing additional measures to reduce CO2 emissions from shipping and that the UN Conference needs to maintain its support for IMO as the principal forum for addressing emissions from maritime transport, which cannot be attributed to individual national economies.

ICS emphasizes that any decision, for example on whether to develop a Market Based Measure for shipping that might be linked to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), should be a matter for IMO Member States.  IMO will be best placed to develop an approach that can reconcile the UNFCCC principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR)” – whereby developing countries are treated differently – with the need for all ships, regardless of flag, to be treated in a uniform manner.

Shipping is a global industry requiring rules on COto be applied on a global basis to all ships.  Apart from preventing market distortion in this totally globalized sector, this is necessary to avoid “carbon leakage” since only about 35% of the world fleet is registered with those developed nations that are covered by emission reduction commitments under the existing Kyoto Protocol on climate change prevention. 

The position of the shipping industry remains that any contribution by shipping to the GCF must reflect the sector’s modest contribution to total global CO2 emissions.  ICS is firmly opposed to any suggestion that the shipping industry should collectively pay tens of billions of dollars each year, stressing that the industry is not a “cash cow.”

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