IMO meeting concludes without agreement on market-based measures on shipping emissions
A conference of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has ended, with little progress on deciding how to deal with shipping carbon emissions. There was agreement that something should be done, but not what. Instead of progress, talks got mired in technical detail. Proposals including a levy on bunker fuel or a global emissions trading scheme remained on the table and would be addressed again at the next IMO meeting in early October. The EU is threatening to bring shipping into its ETS if there is no progress. Brussels published a consultation on four policy options, including a compensation fund, an emissions trading system, a fuel or carbon tax and a mandatory emission reduction per ship.This ends in April and is due to be followed by an impact assessment, a draft proposal sometime between April and June and a final proposal in the last three months of the year.
International meeting concludes without agreement on market-based measures
5 Mar 2012 (Business Green)
Little progress was made on advancing market-based measures to deal with shipping emissions when a UN meeting on the issue closed on Friday, according to delegates, raising the prospect of unilateral EU action.
Divisions between countries over when measures should be introduced and their potential meant the week-long conference at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London concluded with few agreements, an attendee told BusinessGreen.
“Everyone agreed we should do it [introduce market-based measures], but we couldn’t agree the process,” he said.
“Developing countries… want to move it far to the right and developed countries want to get on with it.”
Instead, talks became mired in technical details and debates about the level of technology transfer between the two groups, he added, while delegates could not agree a steering group for an impact study proposed by IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu examining nine potential measures.
An IMO spokeswoman told BusinessGreen that proposals including a levy on bunker fuel or a global emissions trading scheme remained on the table and would be addressed again at the next IMO meeting in early October.
Shipping contributes about 3% of global emissions, but a rise in trade volumes and declining emissions in other sectors mean this is predicted to rise to around 18% by 2050 if no action is taken.
Last year countries did agree a series of energy efficiency measures for ships, which will come in at the beginning of 2013, but this has not been viewed as sufficient progress by the EU, which has threatened to bring shipping into its own emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).
“While we have a clear preference for global action on measures to reduce emissions from shipping, we don’t see the IMO on track to deliver reductions consistent with the globally accepted maximum 2ºC objective,” a Commission spokesman told news agency Reuters.
Earlier this month, Brussels published a consultation on four policy options, including a compensation fund, an emissions trading system, a fuel or carbon tax and a mandatory emission reduction per ship.
This ends in April and is due to be followed by an impact assessment, a draft proposal sometime between April and June and a final proposal in the last three months of the year.
If the EU does decide to bring shipping under the EU ETS, it will be keen to avoid the bickering that followed the inclusion of aviation from the beginning of this year.
Much like shipping, the aviation industry has argued for a global solution to reduce emissions, but has failed to provide one in a decade of negotiations through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
But ICAO secretary-general Raymond Benjamin told news agency Reuters last week that the UN body intends to have a proposal on measures to address emissions from aviation by the end of the year.
Brussels has faced severe criticism for its policy of requiring airlines to pay for carbon emitted on all flights in and out of EU airports, facing down a US legal challenge only to be told Chinese carriers will not comply. Last month 23 countries agreed a package of countermeasures designed to undermine the rule.
And an adviser to the Saudi Arabian government issued the latest broadside call for the EU to back down after warning the petroleum-rich nation is opposed to the rule because of its potential impact on oil demand.
“It isn’t under any climate agreement,” Mohammed al- Sabban said at a conference in Jeddah today. “It isn’t under any international system. So that is why it has been objected, not only by the US but other countries. The pressure is huge for Europe to revise their position, and I think they will do that.”
- Shippers showcase supply chain emission savings
- EU launches attempt to deliver shipping emissions trading scheme
IMO to discuss CO2 curbs for ships, industry frets
Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:21pm EST
* IMO committee to weigh market-based mechanisms
* Global levy and emissions trading under review
* Shipping associations opposed to emissions trading
By Jeff Coelho
LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) – The International Maritime Organization will next week debate market-based measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions from ships, but the world’s major shipping associations on Wednesday said the timing is not right for such measures to be applied.
While the IMO’s Marine and Environment Protection Committee is not expected to reach any conclusions on market-based measures at a week-long meeting in London, the U.N. agency has been under pressure to tackle international shipping emissions.
The European Commission has threatened to take its own measures, such as including the shipping sector in its emissions trading scheme, if a solution to control rising shipping emissions by the IMO is not strong enough.
Some of the carbon-cutting measures under IMO review include a contribution or levy on all carbon dioxide emissions from international shipping, an emissions trading system and schemes based on the operational and design efficiency of ships.
But the so-called round table (RT) of leading shipping associations urged the IMO to postpone the introduction of market based measures and to instead focus on implementing mandatory energy efficiency design standards adopted last year.
“The RT is of the view that market based measures are not justified at this particular time,” said a joint statement from BIMCO, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and International Chamber of Shipping.
Last July, forty-eight countries voted in favour of adopting a mandatory energy efficiency design index for new ships and a voluntary energy efficiency management plan for all ships.
“Let’s press on with the (energy efficiency measures) and let’s see what we can achieve,” a spokesman for INTERTANKO told Reuters.
Of the different market proposals, the round table statement said the group was most opposed to an emissions trading scheme. “The very complexity of international seaborne trade renders the concept of ETS unworkable for the shipping industry,” it said.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said the 27-nation bloc’s preference is for shipping emissions to be tackled by the IMO, although the EU would be ready to act if the U.N. agency failed to deliver.
The Commission also said the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) would be the best forum for a global solution on aviation emissions, but the EU executive ran out of patience and included the sector into its emissions trading scheme.
Since the start of the year, all airlines using EU airports are obliged to take part in the scheme, which puts the cost of CO2 emissions on their balance sheets.
The move has raised the prospect of the world’s first carbon trade war, as countries opposed to the EU law agreed on a basket of retaliatory measures.
The aviation clash over the EU scheme may give some breathing room for the IMO.
“I expect them (the European Commission) to verbally continue to put pressure on IMO, but I would be very much surprised if the Commission floats a proposal when the dust on the aviation ETS has not settled down,” said an aviation and maritime research analyst who asked not be named.
At the same time, he said the IMO’s MEPC is likely to postpone a decision on market-based mechanisms until the impacts on developing countries are more clear, which will be July next year at the soonest.
A Commission spokeswoman said the executive recently started a public consultation on four policy options for shipping, including a compensation fund, an emissions trading system, a fuel or carbon tax and a mandatory emission reduction per ship.
The public consultation is open until April 12. (Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis in Brussels)