The aviation and shipping sectors are set to be exempt from targeted CO2 emissions cuts in the December Paris climate agreement, according to the latest draft deal. This is an irresponsible U-turn, say environmental groups Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment. CO2 emissions from the two sectors are set to grow by up to 250% by 2050, making attempts to limit global warming to 2°C all but impossible.
The latest draft Paris deal removes previous calls for aviation and shipping CO2 reduction targets. Both international sectors are not covered by national targets in the Paris agreement. Aviation is responsible for 5% of global warming with shipping emitting 3% of global CO2. Even so, last week outgoing IMO secretary-general, Koji Sekimizu, argued publicly against an overall cap on ship emissions, saying it would inhibit world trade.
John Maggs, senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk, said: “Excluding shipping from Paris opens up a fatal flaw in the global strategy to tackle climate change. As the IMO secretary-general’s recent remarks show, without a clear signal from the UNFCCC, the IMO is incapable of making the necessary decisions to ensure shipping takes a fair share of the burden of reducing emissions.”
Proposals from the least developed countries, which are likely to suffer most from the consequences of climate change, that shipping and aviation should contribute to climate finance were also dropped in the draft, despite strong calls from the IMF and World Bank for such levies.
Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, said: “International aviation and shipping have climate impacts equal to Germany and South Korea respectively, yet they are tax-free on their fuel and are now set to be target-free on their emissions. It’s a betrayal of future generations and a sad reflection on the way the UN has become beholden to special interests. Paris needs to think again and quickly.”
Pre-Paris climate talks resume in Bonn on 19 October. Countries must decide in the coming weeks on a final text to take to Paris in December.