ICS: Shipping C02 Goal to Survive US Pullout
The Chair of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has said shipping emissions reduction plans will go ahead despite the US’s decision annul its Paris Agreement pledge. ICS at an IMO side event at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York on June 6, 2017 reaffirmed a vow to cut shipping emissions by an amount yet to be identified. It said the shipping industry plans to keep total CO2 emissions from the shipping sector below 2008 levels and then to cut them before 2050 by a percentage to be agreed by member states in the IMO.
ICS Chairman Esben Poulsson said it is unlikely the US decision will impact the makeup of the global shipping fleet given that the US-flagged fleet is “relatively small”. ICS separately urged the European Union and China to jointly agree a global emissions “deal” for shipping. EU and Chinese leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement at the 19th EU-China Summit held in Brussels last week, and plan a joint meeting with Canada to discuss its implementation in September.
However, it warned against actions by single entities, such as the EU including shipping in the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). While the industry has already reduced its total CO2 emissions by more than 13% between 2008 and 2012 through measures like larger ship designs, energy efficiency and slow steaming, it can adopt further measures such as the use of alternative fuels and scrubbers. ICS Director of Policy, Simon Bennett, said: “The shipping industry is committed to the delivery of further environmental improvements in the interests of sustainable development.
But sustainable development requires a global shipping industry that is economically sustainable too.” Committing the US cut its domestic greenhouse gas emissions, President Obama ratified the Paris Agreement on September 3, 2016. But US President Trump in a June 1, 2107 speech said he had withdrawn the US, despite the fact the country contributes 14.34% to global CO2 emissions.
The agreement, signed by over 190 countries including the US and China, did not include targets for the international shipping industry. Nonetheless ICS committed to work with the IMO to make rules that would both start to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, seeking to counter the notion that shipping ‘escaped’ the Paris Agreement because of its international business structure. The extent to which the ICS plans to cut emissions remains unknown and will be up to the IMO to rule upon.
IMO is holding discussions on greenhouse gas reduction strategy in a few weeks’ time, at the 71st session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), aiming to have a strategy in place by 2018.
Data on CO2 emissions from shipping could be available as early as 2023.
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