ICS Urges More Action on Shipping Emissions Regardless of COP21 Outcome

Photo: Jan van Broekhoven/Shutterstock.com
Photo: Jan van Broekhoven/Shutterstock.com

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is urging further support of CO2 reduction measures at the IMO regardless of the final outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) underway in Paris.

The ICS, representing the interests of global ship operators in climate deal negotiations at COP21, has commented that the latest draft UNFCCC text which, although still not finalized, now contains no explicit reference to international shipping or aviation.

ICS says it would be helpful for the new agreement to reiterate the vital role of the UN International Maritime Organization in the development of further measures to reduce shipping’s CO2 emissions. This, according to the ICS, would give extra encouragement to build on the global regulations IMO has already adopted and which are anticipated to reduce CO2 per tonne-km 50% by 2050. However, the absence of text is unlikely to inhibit the aspirations of governments, which are shared by the industry, for IMO to take further action, the ICS says.

“While text on shipping could be useful, the negotiators are now having to focus on the really high level things like climate finance to ensure the overall agreement is a success which is what everyone wants” said ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe.

Virtually all UNFCCC Parties and IMO Member States have made clear that they expect the industry to deliver more, and that work on CO2 reduction must continue at IMO, as set out in the original Kyoto Protocol.

The ICS says that in 2016, work will continue at IMO to finalize the adoption of a global CO2 reporting system for ships as the first step in a process that is expected to lead to additional actions that could include a Market Based Measure (MBM).

IMO has also already agreed to have a discussion about CO2 targets for international shipping, as requested by the Marshall Islands and supported by the European Union.

The ICS has reiterated that the IMO, with its specialist expertise, is still the best forum for discussion and regulation of the emissions from international shipping, and the ICS says that it will continue to participate constructively.

“The message from Paris is clear” said ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe. “Governments and society expect international shipping to play a full part in the reduction of CO2, and we accept our responsibility to do this. We already have ambitious CO2 reduction goals consistent with what is currently possible. As soon our member national shipowners’ associations have digested the full implications of the final UNFCCC agreement, ICS will be proactive with ideas for debate at IMO next year.”