Wanted: Good News on Shipping and Aviation by Marrakech

In the two decades that ECO has been calling for action on shipping and aviation emissions, the period between now and Marrakech might be the best opportunity ever for some good news on both fronts.

The need for action has become even clearer in the recent UNFCCC aggregate assessment of the impacts of the INDCs. The report finds that mitigation INDCs of 189 countries now cover 95.7% of global emissions. This leaves 4.3% of global emissions outside of such emissions goals. Most of these are from international aviation and maritime transport, which are not covered by either national emissions targets or sectoral emissions caps.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has set its assembly in October as a deadline to finalise its Market Based Measure to implement the goal of “carbon neutral growth from 2020”. This means they will offset emissions growth above 2020 levels in future years, by purchasing credits from outside the sector.

ECO urges the industry to demonstrate leadership and take a solid first step toward tackling the sector’s rapid growth in emissions. Despite facing headwinds, some progress was made in a high level meeting a couple of weeks ago in Montreal. This included making the offset criteria to be adopted mandatory and not just guidelines, and included a review and ratchet clause that explicitly provides for considering further ways that the aviation industry might contribute its fair share towards the long-term temperature goals in the Paris Agreement. On October 7, the global spotlight will be on ICAO to meet its commitment.

On international shipping, Parties have a perfect opportunity to kick-start a real discussion of the sector’s fair contribution to the Paris climate objectives. Parties had, as they say “a range of views”, at the Marine Environmental Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organisation meeting. The MEPC decided to consider again the case for creating a working group to address these proposals at the next meeting in October.

There is no reason to delay this further. The IMO is expected to formally agree on a CO2 emissions reporting MRV system for ship emissions later this year. There is already sufficient information and data related to this sector to underpin these important discussions of targets and measures to address emissions. ICAO and IMO, it’s time to align your plans with globally agreed climate objectives.

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