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ICS chairman calls for whole sector strategy in CO2 reduction plan

Esben Polsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, has called on the IMO  to take further action towards its CO2 reduction strategy, pointing to a potential bunker levy as a potential solution.

Speaking at a global CO2 summit in Bali organised by The Economist, Mr Poulsson said further action is essential in order to reduce the industry’s vulnerability from EU actions and from Canada or parts of the US, where carbon pricing already exists.

Curently  Brussels is discussing the incorporation of shipping into the Emissions Trading System. This proposal has faced criticism with IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim previously stating that including shipping in the ETS could jeopardise efforts to reduce shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions on a global level.

If shipping does become included in the EU’s ETS then the IMO will need to work even harder to reduce CO2 emissions and prevent penalisation from the EU, said Mr Poulsson.

In order to do this the ICS believes that the IMO needs a strategy that incorporates whole sector objectives.  This would ensure that emissions goals target the shipping industry as a whole in the same way the Paris Agreement has resulted in governments agreeing CO2 commitments for their national economies.

According to ICS, it would like to see the IMO decide a mechanism for delivery of this by 2023.

“We are confident IMO can adopt an ambitious strategy by 2018 matching the spirit of the Paris Agreement. However, IMO needs to agree a baseline year for peak CO2 emissions from shipping, as well as setting out some serious long term aspirations for dramatically cutting the sector’s total CO2 by the middle of the century” said Mr Poulsson.

Mr Poulsson also said that overly ambitious targets might only be met with future marine fuels that are not yet available. The availability of alternative fuels or fuel cells has been under debate for some time.  ICS believes they will not become available for another 20-30 years. Hydrogen is considered feasible, but safety, infrastructure and availability remain uncertain.  Fuel cells are also very much still in development.

ICS has also highlighted the importance of ensuring that CO2 reduction goals address the concerns of developing nations regarding ties with trade and sustainable development.

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