Proposed Shipping Industry Climate Regulations Left All At Sea

  • Date: 30/03/10

Negotiations over how to fit shipping into any post-Kyoto climate change treaty ended in another stalemate on Friday, after the UN shipping agency failed to reach agreement on a proposal aimed at curbing carbon emissions from new ships.

Delegates attending a session of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) marine environment protection committee (MEPC), had considered a proposal submitted by Japan, Norway and the US designed to increase the adoption of technical and operational measures that can reduce CO2 emissions from ships.

The proposals included plans for an energy efficiency index designed to help operators assess the environmental credentials of new vessels, as well as the development of clearer fuel efficient best practices for existing and new ships.

But delegates failed to reach a consensus and said more work was needed on the plans. “Development of the technical issues did not progress to a degree that the measures could be considered complete,” John Aitken, secretary general of industry lobby group Shipping Emissions Abatement and Trading (SEAaT) which is pushing for the adoption of CO2 reduction policies, told Reuters.

SEAaT, whose members include BP’s and Royal Dutch Shell’s shipping units, said opposition from countries such as China and India to mandatory regulation had led to slow progress at the talks.

Aitken added that the “common but differentiated” principle, which places less obligation on developing countries to cut emissions and is fiercely defended by China and India, also hampered progress towards the development of market-based instruments such as a sector-wide cap-and-trade scheme for cutting the shipping industry’s carbon footprint.

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