US backtracks on shipping emissions deal

By John Parnell 

Governments are backtracking on efforts to introduce a market based mechanism to reduce emissions in the shipping sector.

The UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is hosting its regular round of environmental talks in London this week and it was expected to launch efforts to assess the available options.

After the first two days of the week-long event the focus was shifting to reinforcing existing energy efficiency measures, led by the USA.

Mark Lutes, from WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative, told RTCC the US proposal on energy efficiency had broad support including from the EU.

“Our key concern is which countries support it [efficiency] as an alternative to a market based mechanism and emission targets and which understand it as a complement.”

Efforts to curb shipping emissions could turn to efficiency standards rather than a market based mechanism (Source: Flickr/Roberto Venturini)

The shipping sector’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is estimated at between 2-3%.

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meets three times every two years to discuss climate change, pollution and a host of other issues.

It has already introduced efficiency standards for new ships and regulations to improve the environmental performance of existing ships.

The US revealed a proposal on the first day of the meeting to extend the existing efficiency rules and add tough targets to ensure progress can be made to reduce emissions.

Reuters quotes the Kim Carnahan, from the US State Department, calling for a shift in focus.

“From the US position it’s very clear market-based-mechanisms have had a difficult time at the IMO and weren’t progressing quickly,” she said.

“This is the best way to make progress on this issue for the foreseeable future.”

It is expected that support for the proposal and the appetite to continue exploring options for a market based mechanism will be clearer by the end of this round of talks on Friday.

RTCC Video: Shipping has along way to go to curb emissions

Read more on: EU | Road | | |