ITF Says Maritime Shipping Industry Must Cut Emissions

Container Port ShipOn Oct. 12, the International Transport Forum said they would like to see more regulations for maritime emissions enforced on a global scale. Their plan would see shipping cut carbon emissions in half over 35 years, and then entirely by the year 2080.

The group is part of a research division under Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. If the plan goes through, shipping container lines to tanker operators would need to meet the requirements in addition to paying a carbon tax, says the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.

Olaf Merk, an IRF analyst, also points out that it would require regular reports on progress.

The United Nations will be holding the COP 21 conference in Paris this December to discuss climate change. Their goal is to create a legally binding agreement on a global scale to keep global warming under two degrees Celsius.

“It would be odd if countries are expected to adhere to emission targets but not the shipping sector, especially since it would be impossible to apportion shipping emissions to countries,” the ITF said in the policy brief.

With this plan, shipping gas emissions would be halved by 2050, and be at zero in 2080, as set forth by the U.N. Framework on Climate Change. The shipping industry accounted for 2.2% of carbon emissions globally, and the majority of that came from container ships, bulk carriers and tankers.

On Sept. 28, however, IMO chief Koji Sekimizu, said that the maritime agency should be the only one to dictate targets and plans to reduce emissions. He says he has set a target of a 30% decrease by 2030.

He also added that placing strict regulations could affect ships’ ability to meet the demand for trade. It “would artificially limit the ability of shipping to meet the demand created by the world economy, or would un-level the level playing field that the shipping industry needs for efficient operation, and therefore must be avoided.”

“If such measures are enforced, it will seriously distort the shipping industry and have a serious impact on the economy of almost all nations,” he said.

The ITF maintains that they need to set targets and freight solutions that are specific and enforceable to ensure that everyone follows. They may need to reduce ship speed, design more efficient ships and/or use alternative fuel sources in order to meet the targets. There will also be a $25 tax per metric ton of carbon dioxide.

“The reduction of shipping emissions would gain huge impetus if COP 21 would agree to an ambitious package for the shipping sector,” the ITF said.

The World Shipping Council, based in Washington and represents shipping lines, says that maritime shipping is actually the “world’s most carbon-efficient form of transporting goods.” With more than 200 million trips made by shipping containers annually, it remains to be seen how the regulations may affect trade.

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