Shipping industry says it is part of solution to reducing greenhouse gases

Shipping industry says it is part of solution to reducing greenhouse gases

Five leading shipowner groups have warned that unrealistic demands for carbon dioxide reductions could result in a shift toward less energy efficient transport modes.

   In advance of next week’s 70th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 70) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, five major shipping industry trade organizations said the shipping industry should make a « fair share contribution » toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The trade organizations added that, « Maritime transport needs to be acknowledged as part of the solution to reducing global CO2, and any fair share contributed by IMO should take account of this. »
The five organizations – the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO), the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) and the World Shipping Council (WSC) – made their comments in a submission to MEPC 70 of the IMO. They said their comments were a unified response from the shipping industry to the Paris Agreement on climate change, which took effect Oct. 5.
« Consistent with the Paris Agreement, the co-sponsors fully agree that IMO should determine a possible fair share contribution for the international shipping sector, which if developed, should take into account the circumstances that are relevant to the international shipping sector, including the importance of international trade in supporting the sustainable development of national economies, » they said.
The five organizations also noted that many countries have submitted plans, so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), for reducing greenhouse gases, which make clear, after taking account of their national circumstances, that they are currently unable to commit to absolute CO2 reductions by their national economies in the immediate future. « This is presumably due to projections regarding the growth of their population, and their legitimate desire to maintain sustainable economic development, » the organizations said.
Therefore, they said great care is needed in attempting to define a ‘fair share’ for the international shipping sector, as has been proposed by some IMO members. The organizations added, « The Paris Agreement does not contain any reference or framework for determining a ‘fair share’ with respect to the contributions that will be made by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) parties. »
The organizations noted that although many land-based industrial and transportation sectors have increased access to alternative low carbon energy sources, such fuels are not likely to be viable and readily available for international shipping, which will therefore continue to rely on fossil fuels for several more decades.
« Shipping is already, by far, the most energy efficient form of commercial transport, » they said. « Any increase in shipping activity due to a shift from other less efficient transport modes will in fact contribute to an overall reduction in the world’s total CO2 emissions. On the other hand, an unrealistic contribution to reduce the sector’s absolute CO2 emissions could lead to a shift to less energy efficient transport modes. This would clearly be counterproductive with respect to reducing the world’s total CO2 inventory and the achievement of INDCs. The opportunity to switch from land and air-based transport modes to shipping should be encouraged. Maritime transport needs to be acknowledged as part of the solution to reducing global CO2, and any fair share contributed by IMO should take account of this. »
The five shipping groups call on members of the IMO to finalize the adoption of a global carbon dioxide data collection system for international shipping as a precursor to the consideration of possible next steps to address the sector’s CO2 emissions.