Macron Summit to Turn Up the Heat on International Shipping Emissions
The heads of state summit on climate convening this week in Paris will turn up the heat on the international shipping industry to finally get serious about greenhouse gas reductions, according to a draft statement obtained by Climate Home News.
Fifty national leaders are expected to attend the summit, organized by French President Emmanuel Macron to mark the second anniversary of the Paris agreement.
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“International shipping, like all other sectors of human activity, must take urgent action in consideration of these vital objectives for the future of the planet and of humanity,” reads the statement. It urges ocean-going shippers to align with the Paris goal of keeping average global warming “well below” 2.0°C, with a long-term target of 1.5°.
The statement, which calls on the industry to peak its emissions “in the short term” and reach carbon neutrality “towards the second half of this century”, will “shine a spotlight on negotiations at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which are due to produce an initial climate strategy for shipping in April 2018,” Climate Home notes. “The language is significantly stronger than the ‘aspirational’ targets proposed by industry groups.”
Addressing itself to an industry that has traditionally talked a good line and done next to nothing on climate, the statement says the IMO strategy “should include policies with ‘immediate effect’—a category that may include speed limits at sea—as well as developing longer-term measures,” writes Climate Home Deputy Editor Megan Darby.
A number of countries are expected to sign on in Paris, she adds, and the diplomatic push behind it will continue right up until the IMO meeting in April.
In November, European governments agreed to take action on shipping emissions if the IMO fails to act by 2023. Brussels-based Transport and Environment applauded that move, commenting that “Europe cannot indefinitely outsource its climate responsibility to the IMO given that the UN agency has repeatedly shown itself incapable of delivering the required level of ambition”.
But IMO negotiations on carbon reductions have been tense, Climate Home notes, with delegates from emerging economies concerned about implementation costs. “The likes of Brazil have argued rich and poor countries have different responsibilities when it comes to addressing climate change—including in the shipping sector.” But “the declaration implicitly rejects that argument, saying the strategy should ‘equally apply to all ships regardless of their flag’. It adds, though, that ‘disproportionate impacts’ on small island states and the poorest countries should be addressed.”
The International Chamber of Shipping also claims a binding emissions cap will put a damper on world trade and development.