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Shipping industry, Oxfam and WWF call on COP 17 delegates to provide IMO with clear guidance on reducing shipping GHG emissions; potential for contributing to Green Climate Fund

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa (COP 17), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS, which represents more than 80% of the world merchant fleet), Oxfam and WWF called on delegates to give the International Maritime Organization (IMO) clear guidance on continuing its work on reducing shipping emissions through the development of Market Based Measures (MBMs).

The three organizations maintain that an effective regulatory framework for curbing emission of CO2 from international shipping must be global in nature and designed so as to reduce the possibility of “carbon leakage”, while taking full account of the best interests of developing countries and the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR).

This includes the possibility of the adoption by IMO of a compensation mechanism through which a significant share of any revenues collected from international shipping could be directed to developing countries and provide a new source of finance to support their efforts to tackle climate change. Such revenues could be directed through an appropriate channel, such as the Green Climate Fund, which will be discussed by governments in Durban.

The shipping industry welcomes the recognition by these important actors from the environment and development fields that it is in the best interests of both the environment and developing nations for shipping to be regulated via our industry regulator, the International Maritime Organization, with the same rules for carbon reduction applying to all internationally trading ships, but in a manner which respects the principles of the UN climate convention.

If governments decide that shipping should contribute to the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund, the industry can probably support this in principle as long as the details are agreed at the IMO, with the industry’s clear preference for a Market Based Mechanism being a compensation fund linked to the fuel consumption of ships, rather than an emissions trading scheme.

—ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe

While there are some differences over the details of such an approach, the organizations emphasized that the immediate priority for governments meeting at COP 17 in Durban is not to work on technical details for shipping, but to provide the signals needed to allow resolution of the key political question of how to apply CBDR in the shipping sector, and assist the speedy completion of the IMO’s work.

With respect to any carbon charges that might be proposed by governments, they agree that the recent IMO agreement on technical and operational measures to reduce shipping emissions demonstrates that the IMO is eminently capable of developing a further international agreement for shipping on MBMs. In light of the urgency required to avoid catastrophic climate change, they called on all governments to take all steps necessary to expedite such an agreement at the IMO.


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