Tag: IMO

IMO: Shipping sector gets on board to tackle climate change but faster near-term action needed to meet Paris climate goals


13 April: The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed on an initial strategy to decarbonise international shipping and reduce emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050. While this agreement falls short of the 70 to 100% reductions by 2050 that the Pacific Islands, the EU and others were calling for ahead of the meeting, it keeps a window open to meet the Paris climate goals and is undeniably a game changer for the shipping sector.

This plan serves as a welcome first step to phase out emissions from the sector, but the IMO must now build on the agreed minimum target of 50% reductions in subsequent reviews of the strategy to comply with its fair share of emissions under the Paris Agreement. It must commit to the rapid and strong implementation of near-term measures, which will be discussed later this year, to stay on track with the Paris climate goals to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Shipping accounts for 2% of global emissions and it is time the IMO got on board with the rest of the world to seriously tackle climate change.  

Members and partners of the Climate Action Network reacted to the outcome:

John Maggs, senior policy advisor, Seas At Risk and president of the Clean Shipping Coalition, said: “We have an important agreement and this level of ambition will ultimately require a sector-wide shift to new fuels and propulsion technologies, but what happens next is crucial. The IMO must move swiftly to introduce measures that will cut in-sector emissions deeply and quickly in the short-term. Without these the goals of the Paris agreement will remain out of reach.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, global climate and energy programme leader, WWF, said: “This is very welcome news, a good first step and an important policy signal. Shipping is responsible for more than 2 percent of global emissions, and this is growing. The agreement today is an opportunity to bend this curve to align with the Paris Agreement. This needs to translate into urgent action - now.”

Mark Lutes, senior global climate policy advisor, WWF, said: “The decision sends a strong signal to the shipping industry and fuel suppliers, that they need to scale up investments in new technologies and their rapid deployment, including alternative fuels and propulsion systems.”

Catherine Abreu, executive director, Climate Action Network Canada, said: "This IMO initial strategy represents a small step from the shipping industry to contribute to the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, to limit the increase of emissions to 1.5Co. A 1.5Co scenario of international shipping emissions requires decarbonization of the sector between 2035 and 2050 and the reduction of shipping emissions of 70%, aiming to 100% by 2050. Canada, who has the world’s longest coastline, should use its position as G7 President and ensure that it calls the IMO to further pursue ambitious and transparent actions to address shipping emissions in a way that it aligns with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Kelsey Perlman, international transport policy officer, Carbon Market Watch, said:  "It’s encouraging to have an emissions reduction plan for shipping, which for 30 years has avoided serious climate action, although ambition will ultimately be determined by how fast the sector adopts measures. An effective carbon price coupled with technology and operational improvements will be key to unlocking the huge potential for pollution-free shipping."

Kelsey Perlman on behalf of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) said: “Today’s outcome puts international shipping ahead of aviation, short of the type of ambition required by the Paris Agreement, but with a clear, long-term commitment to decarbonize in-sector and peak emissions as soon as possible. This decision should light a fire under ICAO, which has been dragging its feet for over a decade on a vision for long-term decarbonization, arriving only at the mid-term emissions target of carbon neutral growth from 2020 levels. The agreement on shipping emissions today should make people question whether aviation’s emissions should be allowed to grow with no concrete plan to decarbonize.”

Bill Hemmings, shipping director, Transport & Environment, said: “The IMO should and could have gone a lot further but for the dogmatic opposition of some countries led by Brazil, Panama, Saudi Arabia. Scant attention was paid to US opposition. So this decision puts shipping on a promising track. It has now officially bought into the concept of decarbonisation and the need to deliver in-sector emission reductions, which is central to fulfilling the Paris agreement.”

Veronica Frank, international political advisor, Greenpeace, said: “The plan is far from perfect, but the direction is now clear - a phase out of carbon emissions. This decarbonisation must start now and targets improved along the way, because without concrete, urgent measures to cut emissions from shipping now the Paris ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees will become swiftly out of reach.
“Although the deal lists possible mitigation measures, the lack of an action plan for their development and the  tone of discussions at the IMO does not give much confidence that measures will be adopted soon. Greenpeace urges the industry to transform these goals into concrete, urgent steps to decarbonise in full as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest. The IMO plan is a first step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to achieve climate stability. The initial deal will be revised in 2023 and reviewed again in 2028, giving opportunities to strengthen the targets.”

Manfred Treber, senior adviser climate/transport, Germanwatch said: "The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 had stated that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) should pursue the limitation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol from international aviation, the IMO should do this for emissions from marine bunker fuels.
It took 19 years until ICAO agreed on CORSIA as a first global instrument to begin to fulfil this task. Now after 21 years - meanwhile the Paris Agreement had been adopted and has entered into force - we welcome that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is joining the world to combat climate change. We all know that their step is by far not sufficient to bring us close to the goals of the Paris Agreement with net zero emissions in the second part of this century."

Aoife O’Leary, legal analyst, Environmental Defense Fund Europe said: The shipping sector’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target represents an important step forward. The IMO has been talking about climate change for twenty years but the strategy agreed this week marks the beginning of a focused debate about the policies and measures that will help it to modernise and regain the status of a clean and efficient mode of transport. The target falls short on ambition but should be sufficient to drive policy development and consequently investment in clean fuels and technology.  EDF remains committed to working with stakeholders including those in the industry to find the ways that will work in order to peak shipping emissions as soon as possible.”

Jennifer Tollmann, climate diplomacy researcher, E3G, said: One of the key messages of the Paris agreement was that everybody needed to do more. With today’s agreement, one of the most serious climate laggards has acknowledged its responsibility. The IMO has taken an important first step in accepting the role it has to play in contributing to shifting us towards a carbon free future and to finally starting to bring the shipping sector in line with fulfilling the promise of the Paris Agreement. Now it's up to the IMO to build on this to start delivering the ambition and climate action the world is coming to expect.”


About Climate Action Network:
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org
For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Coordinator, CAN International; email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org, or whatsapp/call on +918826107830


LCA’s final boarding call for international transport

Today parties have their last and best chance to make progress on addressing emissions from international shipping and aviation, already contributing to more than 5 percent of global emissions and growing faster than any other sector. More than 15 years of negotiations in three UN bodies, including the UNFCCC and the sectoral bodies IMO and ICAO, have produced very little, especially regarding progress on market-based measures (MBMs) that can incentivise emissions reductions while generating significant financing for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, as well as for efficiency measures within these sectors.

The principal stumbling block has been disagreement on how to reconcile the UNFCCC’s principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC) with the principles and approaches in the IMO and ICAO, based on global approaches with equivalent treatment on all ships and aircraft, anywhere in the world. Technical work on exploring options for putting a price on carbon in these sectors is well advanced, but lack of agreement on how to reconcile the different principles is blocking progress.
Today the LCA spin-off group on sectoral approaches will consider text that addresses exactly this issue, and one text option on the table could hold the key to breaking this long-standing deadlock. Singapore has proposed a short elegant text that can provide the basis for a useful guidance to IMO and ICAO. Parties should simply agree here under the UNFCCC that measures to tackle emissions in these sectors under IMO and ICAO should be pursued through global approaches based on the principles of those bodies, while also taking into account UNFCCC principles, including CBDRRC, with perhaps direction on how – e.g., through the use of finance. This might be a simple solution that could be a great leap forward for these crucial sectors. Think about it!
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CAN Intervention on International Transport - LCA Sectoral approaches spinoff group, Bangkok Sept 4, 2012


Delivered by Mark Lutes

Thank you for this opportunity to speak. I am from WWF and speak here on behalf of the Climate Action Network.

  • We are seeing a rich and wide-ranging discussion in many areas here in Bangkok, in particular a very interesting discussion in the ADP round tables, with many thoughtful and creative interventions about the shape of long-term efforts to address climate change;
  • Would be good for some of that same spirit to filter through into this group on the way to Doha, and to see some new thinking on how to break out of the same pattern of the past 10 years. I’m sure many of you are tired of saying the same things year after year. - What we need from the LCA this year under sectoral approaches is some way to break the deadlock and polarization that currently exists in the IMO and ICAO on market based measures;
  • How to do this – a signal to these bodies, or to parties to these bodies (to use a potentially useful wording from Japan), on how to address convention principals in the context of their own established approaches and customary practices.
  • Singapore provided a useful compromise – take account of the principals and provisions of the UNFCCC in the context of global measures under the IMO and ICAO, but it would be useful to go beyond this and say how this might be done.
  • One way would be through the use of revenue generated by MBMs, that can be used to address any impacts on developing countries, to support technology transfer and cooperation and transfer for developing countries, especially the most vulnerable, in implementing these measures, and also to provide financing for developing countries, while making sure that only financing raised from developed countries counts towards the commitments of those countries.
  • We are pleased to see the EU submission introduces the issue of finance, and perhaps these two text can be combined in a way that gives appropriate guidance on how to address CBDR, in global measures under the sectoral bodies.

Doha is the last chance to produce some useful outcomes from your five years of deliberations, and we urge you not to waste that opportunity.

Thank you


CAN Intervention - LCA Sectoral Approaches Spin-Off Group - May 23, 2012


Thank you Mr. Chairman for the chance t
o speak on sectoral approaches and more specifically 
on addressing emissions from bunker fuels. I am speaking behalf of the Climate Action 
We would like to address the questions you have posed to this group.
On the first question: We find ourselves in the interesting position of agreeing with Canada, 
and also with Burkina Faso, Singapore and Chile on the special status of international 
transport. There has to be separate treatment of those inherently international sectors where 
emissions occur outside and between national boundaries. So it is likely not a useful exercise 
to spend more time and efforts to develop a framework covering all sectors, unless it is 
involves recognizing and starting from this distinction.
ON the second question, we welcome the willingness expressed by most parties to send a 
signal to IMO, but we note some differences in what that signal should be. We think 
international maritime transport and aviation should be seen as uniquely global sectors with 
shared and overlapping jurisdiction between UNFCCC and the specialized agencies IMO and 
ICAO. In this context, it is not useful to propose that the principals of one body taking 
precedence over another, but of finding arrangements that reflect the principals and 
customary practices of both bodies. Saying that the principals of one body should take 
precedence over another is a clear recipe for continued stalemate.
On the third question – we think it is extremely important to get a robust outcome from Doha. 
For bunker fuels we need a signal that recognizes and encourages the ongoing work of the 
IMO and ICAO, and gives them advice on a way forward that reconciles the principles and 
procedures of the different bodies, and notes that these sectors should contribute their fair 
share to global efforts and increased ambition. We understand that the best way to do this in 
the context of the current discussions in both bodies of global market based measures, is to 
pursue global measures consistent with the procedures of the IMO and ICAO, while addressing 
differentiation and the UNFCCC principles through the use of revenue generated. This revenue 
can be used to directly address impacts on developing countries from the measures 
themselves, and additional financing can be channeled to developing countries for climate 
actions through the Green Climate Fund, as well as for in-sector actions.
Thank you Chair

Time to Rock the Boat

A long, awkward silence settled over the 100+ delegates and observers crammed into the tiny Koch meeting room. In the Cooperative Sectoral Approaches spin-off group, the chair had asked negotiators for ideas on how to get to a conclusion on bunkers by Doha. Delegates, some standing and others seated on the floor, didn’t seem to have an answer.

Thinking that the hot, crowded and uncomfortable room might be sucking the creative juices out of people, the chair arranged to move to the spacious and blissfully cool Saal Bonn. But when delegates arrived, they found the door locked.

An ironically fitting reboot to the decade-long search for a fair way to control the fast-growing emissions from international transport, and in the process generate billions in climate finance for the poorest and most vulnerable.

ECO is convinced that negotiators can do much better. To that end, ECO offers some suggestions in reaching agreement on giving a signal to the IMO and ICAO, the sectoral bodies that will negotiate and implement measures for shipping and aviation, respectively:

-Be prepared to compromise: developed countries need to signal they are prepared to address equity and different circumstances of developed and developing countries, while developing countries need to agree to global approaches that don’t violate the principles of the ICAO and IMO by differentiating between ships and aircraft

-Be practical: agree that differentiation must be addressed through the use of revenues to correct equity issues and impacts on developing countries, and in addition raise substantial and predictable climate finance for the Green Climate Fund

- Be ambitious: show that the LCA is capable of delivering ambitious outcomes by Doha, on both finance and mitigation

Here’s a chance to demonstrate how CBDRRC can be interpreted in global approaches in a balanced, practical way. It is no longer ahead of its time. In fact, now it can set useful and equitable precedents for the future global regime.

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Midweek MRV

Halfway through the meeting in Panama, ECO would like to present an assessment of progress made thus far. Overall, ECO is happy to note that Parties are very busy preparing and discussing text.  There are still potential storm clouds on the horizon for Durban, however ECO hopes that by the end of this week Parties can get agreement on producing a set of decision text that can narrow the remaining political differences and lay the groundwork for important steps forward in Durban. While not comprehensive, here is ECO’s take on some of the issues under discussion here this in Panama.
Substantive discussions on issues related to legal architecture have percolated up in Panama - including in the LCA informal group on Legal Options (despite Saudi Arabia's best efforts to squelch those discussions).  But there is clearly no meaningful convergence on these issues, and the process lacks a forum for having the cross cutting dialogue necessary to ensure coherent outcomes of the two tracks in Durban.  While outside the main talks here, the Mexico-PNG proposal to address voting procedures is a welcome attempt to focus attention on improving the efficiency of the UNFCCC process.
On the pathetically low levels of developed country ambition – Parties have shown signs that they are at least at step one: recognising they have a problem.   ECO hopes that Parties can come up with a clear process on how to address the gigatonne gap in Durban and happy to see there are some proposals on the table.
On the LULUCF issue being addressed in the Kyoto Protocol track, ECO applauds the principle put forward by the G77 this week in its proposal to treat natural disturbances using a statistical approach. ECO is waiting to see if this new proposal will also be transparent, robust and conservative.  On the other hand, the implications of New Zealand’s proposal for “flexible land use” raises significant concerns that this could wreck other parts of the LULUCF accounting rules and has the potential to cause further damage if used in REDD.
The opening informal on finance kicked off with clashes over whether to negotiate the Standing Committee or long-term finance (scaling up 2013-2020 finance as well as sources).  After Bonn, ECO anticipated that Parties would finally agree to focus on long-term finance.  But it didn’t take long for disappointment to take hold as the US, other umbrella group members and even some EU countries refused to discuss text  – with the US insisting that responsibility lies with individual parties to determine how they will reach the $100bn Cancun commitment.  If that’s the case, ECO thinks the US should be made to say what their plan is! Chief among the innovative finance sources that should be addressed is bunkers, where a decision under sectoral approaches to guide the International Maritime Organization to design a carbon pricing instrument taking into account the principle of CBDR would be a significant outcome in Durban.
Discussions on the scope and modalities of the 2013-15 Review happily included an IPCC briefing on the scope and timing of its Fifth Assessment Report and how its findings could contribute to the review process.   ECO urges Parties to creatively design and adopt at Durban a three-year work program that creates an ‘upward spiral of ambition’.
ECO welcomes that views on the Adaptation Committee became clearer during the last few days and that more and more Parties are considering ways that civil society can be an active part of the committee. But in the next three days, nothing less than draft decision text will do -- especially as seven other critical issues on adaptation remain to be addressed in Durban.
The technology facilitator has shown commendable initiative in developing draft decision text. However, the first reading of the text throws into relief the developed countries’ attempts to thwart progress by bracketing various critical elements and options essential for operationalizing the Technology Mechanism by 2012. ECO urges parties to ratchet up the speed of drafting decision text through pointed discussion around critical issues and ensuring that the Cancun Agreement timelines for operationalizing the technology mechanism are met.
Finally, ECO is pleased that negotiators are intensively addressing the myriad issues involved on MRV, including ICA, IAR, and biennial reports, that text is being developed, and that NGO participation in the IAR process is under serious consideration.  Similar consideration, though should be given to such participation in the ICA process.  

Charting a new course on shipping emissions

Panama could not be a more fitting place to reboot the negotiations on controlling the high and rising emissions from international shipping. Last month’s G20 finance ministers’ discussions on raising climate finance from international transport suggest there is a huge opportunity to do so.

The magnificent sight of the Panama canal is a reminder of the scale of emissions from the international maritime fleet. Shipping is already responsible for 3% of global emissions – more than those of Germany, and twice those of Australia. Without urgent action, emissions could triple by 2050, likely ruining any chance of keeping global warming below the 2°C target agreed in Cancun, let alone the 1.5C target needed. Tackling the emissions from this sector is a vital part of the efforts needed to close the emissions gap.

A step in the right direction was taken this June when governments in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) established energy efficiency design standards for new ships. But welcome though this was, it will only reduce shipping emissions by around 1% below business-as-usual levels by 2020.

It is clear that weak efficiency standards alone are not enough. A carbon price for shipping is needed to drive emission cuts at the scale needed – applied either through a bunker fuel levy or the auctioning of emissions allowances in a new sectoral emissions trading scheme.

As the preliminary report of the World Bank and IMF shows, a carbon price of $25 per tonne would raise the cost of global trade by approximately 0.2% - or $2 for every $1000 traded – and would raise $26 billion per year by 2020. The report suggests that to make a global agreement stick, this revenue should be used to compensate developing countries for the economic impact of higher shipping costs – ensuring they face no net incidence as a result – and as climate finance.

Even after some revenues are used as compensation, this should still leave at least $10 billion per year to be directed to the Green Climate Fund. That would be a significant step towards the $100 billion per year that developed countries have promised to mobilise by 2020, which – unlike Fast Start Finance pledged to date – should be genuinely new and additional to existing promises of development assistance.

The World Bank and IMF report shows the way to a new approach to tackling shipping emissions which Parties meeting in Panama must seize. Building on the work in the G20, a decision in Durban on the key principles of this approach would give the IMO all the guidance needed to get to work on designing and implementing a scheme that delivers a double dividend for the climate. By helping to close the emissions gap, and fill the Green Climate Fund, such a deal on could be a flagship of success in Durban.

Climate Financing Finally Taking Off?

Would delegates complain if their ticket price to come to the Bonn session has a small surcharge to cover the allowances for the aviation emissions?How about  if the money that is collected was destined for climate finance? Well, the inclusion of international aviation into the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) precisely does that. The aviation industry, at least in the US and China, is complaining to the Courts and  lobbying their governments to use their influence to stop the EU’s leadership decision to include aviation emissions within their Emissions Trading Scheme. 

Frustrated with endless delays in discussions on how to regulate aviation emissions at ICAO, the EU acted on its own, including airlines in their Emissions Trading Scheme beginning in 2012. All flights flying in and out of Europe will have to start paying emission allowances and be subject to a declining cap.  But the EU gave an incentive to other countries: if they create “equivalent measures” to reduce airline emissions from international flights in their own countries, their airlines flying into Europe won’t be subject to the ETS.

Sadly, countries are not taking them up on their challenge.  Instead, the US airline industry is suing to dispute the scheme. US airlines have also gone to their pals in the US Congress and are pleading with the Obama Administration to come to their rescue. NGOs in the US have called on the government to defend Europe’s right to reduce emissions and be on the side of environmental integrity, not pollution from aircraft. 

In an unfortunate alignment of interests, Chinese airlines have now said they will challenge the scheme as well.  The BASIC countries’ statement also indicated that they are uncomfortable with the EU action, on the grounds that it’s unilateral and does not adhere to the CBDR-principle as laid down in the Convention. However, the door is still open for the BASIC to deal with aviation and maritime emissions within the UNFCCC-framework. A global system is preferable, but the EU is on the right track and its actions illustrate how to make this work at a global level.  The AGF report last year introduced the concept of “no net incidence” on developing countries that can ensure that a global system of international transportation emissions measures can fulfill the principle of CBDR.

ECO believes a multilateral approach would be the best approach to these inherently global sectors, is a global approach under a multilateral regime that reconciles the principles of non-discrimination that prevails in these sectors (IMO and ICAO) with the principles of the climate convention, including CBDR.

In the absence of a global regime, the EU should be congratulated on its efforts to fulfill its KP Article 2.2 responsibilities to regulate aviation emissions under its jurisdiction. However, this is only the second-best solution – the best approach would be global, while respecting CBDR.

The UNFCCC should support ways to control the rapidly growing emissions from these global sectors, respecting the principles of the various regimes, while ensuring they play a role in financing global climate action, and that there is no net incidence or burden on developing countries. Aviation emissions are projected to nearly triple in the next few decades. The EU is doing its part to address this rapidly growing problem. If Parties want a global solution, then they must start here in Bonn, placing bunkers squarely on the agenda, with a goal of arriving at a decision in Durban on international transportation emissions and finance.

All parties, particularly those expressing reservations about the approach taken by the EU, should work vigorously towards an agreed outcome in Durban that ensures these global sectors make the biggest possible contribution to emissions reductions and global climate resilient and low carbon development.

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