Shipping sector requires higher transparency to show commitment to Paris Agreement, claims research

Investors in the shipping industry should be questioning companies they own as to what they are doing to manage their climate risk and contribute efforts towards reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In order to understand how the shipping industry is working towards keeping a global rise in temperature to no more than 2o C, shipowners and operators need to be more transparent with their climate change and GHG emissions policies.

A new report by Influence Map, Corporate capture of the UN International Maritime Organization: How the shipping sector lobbies to stay out of the Paris Agreement, states that there is a lack of risk disclosure from some of the shipping sector’s largest users. Future policy shifts are impossible to predict, and the highly fragmented shipping industry requires more transparency to decarbonise successfully.

The authors found that individual companies are largely silent on climate risk and their positions on climate regulation. The researchers assessed key shipping operators, finding that in particular the tanker and bulk carrier segments are comprised of fragmented and privately held operators, with little evidence of transparency in terms of disclosure of positions on climate policy.

The authors suggest that these operators tend to prefer their International Maritime Organization (IMO)-focussed lobbying to be done by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO, and the World Shipping Council (WSC) trade associations, all three of whom oppose any greenhouse gas regulation in the sector.

AP Moller-Maersk is an exception to this, which reportedly discloses its climate policy positions, which appear to support action on climate.

According to the researchers’ opinions, ICS has a negative position on GHG emissions. In 2016 it opposed the implementation of GHG emissions regulations until 2023 and between 2015-2017 it has rejected the introduction of binding GHG emissions targets.

The authors also feel that ICS has a negative position on the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) standard. Between 2016-2017, ICS argued against increasing standards, citing safety concerns and opposed the introduction of operational energy efficiency standards for shipping in a 2015 IMO policy submission.

Both BIMCO and the WSC were also given a negative placing on the InfluenceMap’s score card. Policy proposals on both GHG emissions reduction and EEDI measures have been made by both between 2015-2017.

InfluenceMap also criticises the WSC for its carbon pricing policies and suggests they may be unsupportive of such policies because of their belief that the industry already has a strong incentive to reduce fuel use without the need for carbon pricing.

Read the full report here.


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