Agree on finance from bunkers

ECO never tires of pointing out the obvious to delegates, but we promise we do it for your own benefit. So here we go again. What if you could find a way to control the fastest growing sources of emissions and generate billions of dollars of climate finance at the same time. You’d do it, wouldn’t you? ECO respectfully suggests you do just that for international aviation and shipping emissions, right here in Copenhagen.

Parties agree the emissions cannot be attributed to specific countries. The emissions are international, so the mitigation framework must be global. That’s okay, Article 4.1c of the Convention allows for this, but Article 4.3 lays down some conditions. To ensure the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is respected, revenues created from bunker regulation — some estimates suggest US$25-37 billion per year — should be used to defray incremental costs and support climate action in developing countries.  Analysis shows that the impacts on trade would be minimal. Special exceptions can and should be made to exclude routes to and from the SIDS and LDCs, this is fully in the power of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) to do.

A key priority in the next seven days is ensuring that developing countries receive new, additional and stable finance to support their efforts. As many delegates have put it, no money, no deal! Bunkers can help bridge that gap by creating complementary money in addition to assessed contributions by Annex I countries. What a great double dividend: we achieve climate benefits while generating new climate money (through a levy or the auctioning of emission permits).

Now, consider the alternative. You keep on arguing in circles. Nothing gets decided. And bunker emissions keep on rising, making 2˚C impossible, let alone 1.5˚C. A recent study estimates that they would take up 92% of global emissions in 2050 if the rest of the world reduces emissions by the 80% we need. Further, unilateral approaches are springing up. The EU has already moved to bring aviation into its emissions trading system, and is likely to do the same for shipping in the absence of global action. In the US, bunker fuels are covered in the draft Congressional Bill. Such regional measures still cover developing country operators when they visit these major trading blocs but the money generated will not flow to developing countries. It goes to Annex I governments!

This is a huge missed opportunity. Don’t let it happen. Agree on something good: targets for  the sectors, timelines for ICAO and IMO to deliver at COP 16, and the principle of a co-operative approach that generates revenue for developing countries.