The process to reduce GHG emissions from ships is being threatened by developing countries who fail to recognise that the shipping industry is a special case and requires a special global sectoral approach.

 

The process to reduce GHG emissions from ships is being threatened by developing countries who fail to recognise that the shipping industry is a special case and requires a special global sectoral approach.

Developing countries are fearful that a sectoral approach for shipping will harm the shipping industry in developing countries and be the thin end of a wedge that results in a shift away from the traditional United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) focus on national targets for developed countries only. Their concerns are misplaced for two reasons: 1) Shipping really is a special case; the ability of ship owners to choose which country they register their vessels in and move them easily between registries means that any national or regional attempt by developed countries to tackle GHG emissions from international shipping will only hit a small (and likely to diminish quickly as ships flee the developed world’s ship registers) subset of global shipping. 2) The huge revenues that are likely to be created by a global levy or emissions trading system would be extremely useful to the developing world as they struggle to build low carbon economies and adapt to climate change, and will more than compensate for any increase in marginal costs faced by their shipping industry.

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