Shipping Stalls

Reported by Julie Karceski

The International Maritime Organization has failed to adopt any measures on shipping emissions in the past 12 years.

Several environmental nonprofit organizations are crying foul after the July 17 International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in London. They released a statement complaining about IMO’s lax efforts at curtailing greenhouse gas emissions in shipping.The authors, from organizations such as Oceana and the World Wildlife Federation UK, cited a study that suggested carbon emissions should not exceed 7.2 metric tons in 2050 to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius. "Business-as-usual" emissions from shipping will eat up 38% to 50% of total allowable emissions by 2050.

The major complaint was the IMO’s failure to adopt any measures on shipping emissions in the 12 years the organization has had to do so. Two years were devoted to developing market-based instruments, such as an emissions trading scheme, but the efforts were muted due to pressures from China, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, and little resistance from European supporters, according to the statement.

The statement’s authors also noted that any efforts to reduce emissions currently in the works would not be implemented until 2012 at the earliest. And any action would still require another five to 10 years to take effect, making the earliest possible drop in carbon emissions would come sometime around 2020. By then, the authors fear, shipping emissions could represent up to 6% of global carbon emissions.

"The IMO has failed to deliver the results required for Copenhagen," Bill Hemmings of Transport and Environment said, referring to the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will be held in the Denmark capital in December. "The majority has succumbed to the blocking tactics of a small minority. They clearly have not seized the urgency of the issue."

Thanks to advanced design technology, new ships are more energy-efficient, and older ships can be operated at a lower carbon footprint. But the IMO has not mandated any changes, instead using the new designs for voluntary trials, much to the disappointment of the environmental nonprofits.

"The IMO has reached the point it should have attained five to 10 years ago," says John Maggs of Seas At Risk.

SOURCE: Common Dreams