Call for EU-China axis to drive IMO climate deal

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Shipowner bodies the ICS and ECSA have responded to the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement by urging the EU and People’s Republic of China to step up cooperation to forge a global CO2 reduction deal for shipping.

The idea for such cooperation arose during the 19th EU-China Summit held in Brussels last week, where leaders of the European Union and PRC reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, reports the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA). A major ministerial gathering on the subject to be co-hosted by the two powers (and Canada) in September, it adds.

Meanwhile, discussions on the IMO greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy will start at the 71st session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in late June.

The international shipping industry – as represented by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Bimco, Intertanko and Intercargo – has already submitted a proposal to keep total global CO2 emissions below 2008 levels, and then progressively cutting annual total emissions from the sector by 2050, by a percentage to be agreed by IMO.

“We call upon the EU and China, and indeed all IMO Member States, to support the industry proposals”, said ICS secretary general Peter Hinchliffe – with IMO to decide whether technical and operational measures alone could achieve the desired outcome or whether some market-based inducement measures, such as a bunker levy or carbon trading scheme, would be necessary.

At the same time Hinchliffe and his opposite number at ECSA, Patrick Verhoeven, reiterated their opposition to any “patchwork” of regional measures – such as the proposed inclusion of shipping in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – as being “counterproductive” and making agreement of a global solution “far more difficult”.