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COP 15 - Shipowners Regret Lack of Direction on Treatment of International Shipping
4/1/2010

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for the merchant shipping industry with member national associations of shipowners in 33 countries representing all sectors and trades and 75% of the world merchant fleet. ICS represented the international shipping industry at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) acknowledges the progress made by governments, reflected in the “Copenhagen Accord”, at the recent UN Conference in Copenhagen. However, ICS is disappointed that the text of the Accord is silent on the treatment of international shipping in the delivery of further CO2 emission reductions, to which the industry remains firmly committed.

For the moment at least, UNFCCC has been unable to agree a clear mandate for the regulator of the industry, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), on how to build upon the considerable work already undertaken by IMO on a package of technical, operational and economic measures for reducing emissions from shipping on a global basis - a mandate strongly advocated by the shipping industry.

In particular, it remains unclear how the Kyoto Protocol principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibility” (CBDR) should be reconciled with the important need for global rules on CO2 reductions for the carriage of world trade – about 90% of which is carried by ships (acknowledged as the most carbon efficient mode of commercial transport).

Shipping is a uniquely international industry that can only work efficiently when operating within a framework of uniform global regulation that applies equally to all ships regardless of flag. CBDR, at least at ship or company level, will simply not work without the possibility of “carbon leakage”, given that around 65% of the world fleet is currently registered with “Non-Annex I” nations under the existing Kyoto Protocol.

The shipping industry is still firmly committed to helping IMO develop a global solution for shipping on CO2 at the next meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in March 2010. But it is vital for all governments to understand that, in the absence of a global package agreed by IMO, there is a serious risk that some countries will develop unilateral measures to regulate at national or regional level the CO2 emissions of ships trading internationally. Such unilateral measures would likely result in serious market distortions and - most importantly - be far less effective in ensuring the reduction of CO2 emissions by the global shipping sector as a whole.

Note
Additional information (including graphs and images) about the efforts by the shipping industry to reduce CO2 emissions can be found at www.shippingandco2.org

 
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