06 November 2009

Among the few positive signs from Barcelona, was tangible progress on emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors, with the debate moving into real negotiation mode and Parties coalescing around options.

Crucially, a number of African countries spoke up and highlighted how revenues from shipping and aviation could serve as an additional source of climate finance and the EU responded warmly to this call.

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28 October 2009

Twelve years after Kyoto EU states have agreed a 2020 target for GHG emissions from shipping that allows a substantial increase in emissions over 1990 levels.

Photo by Gerick Bergsma 2009/Marine Photobank

Reuters news story (21/10/09).

09 October 2009

The text to emerge from the most recent round of UNFCCC negotiations suggests campaigners face an up hill battle to get a progressive agreement on bunkers in Copenhagen in December.

Two drafting meetings took place in Bangkok on this issue but the resulting text (see below) remains fragmented and full of contradictory proposals. The split between developed countries and the larger “developing” states over the principles of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and “no more favorable treatment of ships” remains. The position of the former was weakened by an inability of the EU to agree targets and baselines, while Venezuela, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Brazil worked to insert variations of the “common but differentiated” approach into the work of IMO. The idea of using revenues from a bunkers levy or ETS has continued to gain traction but this “carrot” was not enough to move developing countries in Bangkok. The issue will be discussed next in Barcelona from 2-6th November. The UNFCCC Copenhagen climate summit takes place from 7-18th December.

Latest negotiating text on bunkers (8/10/09).Latest negotiating text on bunkers (8/10/09).
06 October 2009

After an earlier call by the EU for Copenhagen to set bunker targets EU states have failed to produce a detailed proposal on figures in Bangkok.

Disagreement over both the target level and baseline has stopped EU states from making any proposal in Bangkok this week. The next opportunity for EU states to reach an agreement comes at a Council meeting on October 21st. A -20% target may be possible but it seems unlikely that the baseline for measuring reductions will be the Kyoto 1990 date which applies to other sectors in the EU and developed countries globally. The importance of this can be seen from the following: a -20% reduction on a baseline of 2005 would equal a +36% increase from a 1990 baseline! The Bangkok round of negotiations towards the UNFCCC Copenhagen climate change summit will close on October 9th. The next and last meeting before Copenhagen in December will take place in Barcelona from 2-6th November. Photograph by Jashim Salam/Marine Photobank.

Joint-NGO letter to EU ambassadors on bunker GHG targets and baselines (6/10/09).
17 July 2009

Despite growing pressure from the UNFCCC and a strong push by the International Maritime Organisation’s Secretary General, the IMO has made little progress this week on developing measures to reduce GHG emissions from shipping.

A two-year work plan (see below) to develop "Market-Based Instruments" - either a fuel levy or an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) - was watered down, after pressure from China, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, and European supporters of the scheme showed little appetite to fight for a more ambitious plan. Twelve years after the Kyoto Protocol handed responsibility to IMO to address emissions from international shipping, the Organisation still has not adopted one single binding measure to do so. Global measures to reduce emissions, in the form of a levy or an ETS, have now been identified, but any decision to adopt either process will not be taken before 2012 at the earliest and could take a further 5-10 years to enter into force, so in practice it could be 2020 before the measure takes effect. By that time, shipping’s share of CO2 , if left unchecked, will have potentially doubled and could represent up to 6% of global CO2 emissions. The meeting saw the conclusion of several years’ work on developing energy efficiency indices for the design of new vessels and the operation of existing ones, which could be used as very effective tools to make shipping more energy efficient. However, so far the IMO only intends to use these indices in voluntary trials. Any discussion this week of whether to make the measures mandatory was ruled out even before the meeting started. This raises serious questions as to whether the Copenhagen process should reconfirm the IMO’s responsibility for shipping-related climate issues, and the organisation’s continued anchor-dragging also highlights the need for the EU to progress its own work on a regional European shipping scheme, similar to its policy on aviation.

IMO work plan on market-based instruments agreed at MEPC59 (17/7/09).IMO work plan on market-based instruments agreed at MEPC59 (17/7/09).   Joint-NGO statement to MEPC59 on blocked climate change work (17/7/09).Joint-NGO statement to MEPC59 on blocked climate change work (17/7/09).   Joint-NGO press release (17/7/09).Joint-NGO press release (17/7/09).
13 July 2009

A meeting in London this week will be the last chance for the IMO to agree on GHG emission mitigation ahead of the crucial UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

In the 12 years since the Kyoto protocol was established, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has not enacted a single measure to tackle climate change from international shipping.

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11 June 2009

In an attempt to break the political deadlock preventing action on GHG emissions from international shipping and aviation, Australia has called for reduction targets for these sectors to be agreed at the Copenhagen climate talks in December.

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09 June 2009

A UK Parliamentary Committee has branded the IMO "not fit for purpose" and the shipping industry as "irresponsible" for not doing more to tackle GHG emissions from ships.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report, which was published today, goes on to say that emissions from shipping cannot be allowed to continue to escalate and that there are no insurmountable obstacles to making cuts.

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01 June 2009

The United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the principle international legal and regulatory initiative to tackle climate change. Seas At Risk has only recently become involved in this forum and the focus of its work is inclusion of emissions from marine fuels (bunkers) in future mitigation targets.

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22 May 2009

A coalition of NGOs from around the world are calling on the International Maritime Organisation to agree binding GHG emission reduction targets and measures for shipping ahead of December's UNFCCC climate meeting in Copenhagen.

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20 May 2009

A newly published International Maritime Organisation study shows that technical and operational measures could reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by up to 75%, with a cut of around 20% possible without additional costs.

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19 May 2009

The latest negotiating text for the UNFCCC climate change negotiations has been published and includes draft content on marine bunkers.

The text will be discussed at the next negotiating session from 1-12th June in Bonn. Bunkers are dealt with in paras 135-138 and 174.

Negotiating Text (19/5/09).

19 May 2009

As part of its work to include transport bunker fuels in the December 2009 Copenhagen climate change agreement, Seas At Risk has signed up to a joint-NGO submission to the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA).

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17 May 2009

A new direct action group - Ship of Fuels - has been created to raise the profile of shipping's contribution to climate change and to urge governments to include shipping in the global climate deal to be reached in Copenhagen in December.

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07 April 2008

London, 7th April 2008. Last week the International Maritime Organisation successfully negotiated an end to the use by ships of polluting residual heavy fuel oil but made little progress on greenhouse gas emissions.

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31 March 2008

London, 31st March 2008. The 57th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee starts today in London, and GHG emissions from shipping is a key item on the agenda.

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