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Press Release

Maersk, Cargill, and 49 Others From Industry Call On International Maritime Organization to Set Ambitious Emissions Objective

A coalition of shipowners and operators, logistics businesses, suppliers to the maritime industry, industry associations, and NGOs want a “clear, ambitious long-term objective” for shipping emissions to be set at MEPC 70.

October 20, 2016, London—The Danish Shipowners’ Association, Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association, Maersk, Scandlines, J. Lauritzen, Unifeeder, and 45 other businesses and organisations across the shipping and marine industry are calling for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to act on shipping emissions at the 70th meeting of its Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) next week.

Heads of state from the 171 member countries of the IMO have received a letter signed by 51 organisations from within international shipping asking for their help in securing increased environmental legislation for the industry.

There are no plans for this type of legislation currently on the table, and consideration of a global emissions cap for shipping was pushed aside as recently as 2015. The latest call made to the IMO to develop a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-reduction target failed to gain approval.

The letter states that it is time for the world to recognise the important role the global shipping industry must play in holding the increase in global temperatures to well below two Celsius degrees. It calls on the IMO to match the ambition of pace of UNFCCC (the organisation responsible for COP 21), establish shipping’s fair share of the global responsibility to address climate change, and take ambitious actions that help drive investment in low-carbon solutions.

“Our members, shippers, and cargo owners that use sea freight to support their global businesses are under increased pressure to manage and report on their carbon intensity, including along their supply chains,” said Chris Welsh, secretary general, Global Shippers Forum. “To achieve this, it is essential that effective measurement methods are in place, that shipowners have clear incentives to provide cleaner vessels, and that the industry has a clear goal on emissions. We have joined this letter to call on the IMO to recognise that fact, and move toward unambiguous action.”

International maritime shipping, which transports 90% of global trade, emits more GHGs annually than the entire country of Germany—the nation with the sixth-highest emissions. Yet, unlike Germany, shipping is not subject to any international treaty on climate change, nor to any country-specific emissions reduction legislation, and has not set any emissions-reductions targets of its own through its UN governing body, the IMO. The IMO’s GHG Emissions Report 2014 predicts emissions from the industry will rise by up to 250% by 2050.

John Kornerup Bang, Chief Advisor Climate Change, Maersk, commented: “We will continue working to reduce CO2 emissions in the years to come, striving to reach our 60% relative reduction by 2020. But we are reaching the point where it will be more and more challenging to drive significant CO2 reductions on our own. Global regulation is therefore needed, more than ever, and it is crucial that IMO moves beyond data collection and establishes an ambitious and accelerated process to determine shipping’s ‘fair share’ of emissions, which will allow for subsequent definitions of long-term targets and market-based mechanisms.”

International maritime shipping, which transports 90% of global trade, emits more GHGs annually than the entire country of Germany—the nation with the sixth-highest emissions. Yet, unlike Germany, shipping is not subject to any international treaty on climate change, nor to any country-specific emissions-reduction legislation, and has not set any emissions-reduction targets of its own through its UN governing body, the IMO. The IMO’s GHG Emissions Report 2014 predicts emissions from the industry will rise by up to 250% by 2050.

“Transparency and environmental responsibility are key pillars of how we work at HBC Hamburg Bulk Carriers. Over our years of commitment to protecting the environment and in developing one of the most fuel-efficient fleets in the market, we have seen first-hand the scale of innovation and possibility for emissions reduction within the international shipping industry,” said Capt. Stefan Bülow, managing director, HBC Hamburg Bulk Carriers GmbH & Co. KG. “We joined this letter to support a mature and positive attitude to the ability of the industry to reduce its emissions and create sustainability. This presents a significant opportunity to our community, and with IMO’s direction we can act on a level playing field and embrace it together.”

The Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association commented:

Ships carry large volumes over long distances, which makes them an energy-efficient transport mode. To match the ambitions of the Paris agreement, more action is required. The broader community has been debating the role of maritime transport in a more sustainable economy for many years. The Royal Belgian Shipowners Association (RBSA) has been playing its role as a facilitator in this endeavour. Why? Because, beyond simply taking responsibility for its emissions, the gradual evolution toward a CO2-neutral economy is a golden opportunity to be seized by the industry. There are still many hurdles to overcome and instead of debating what needs to be done, the time has come for all stakeholders to closely collaborate to develop a clear long-term decarbonisation strategy that will help to drive investment in low-carbon solutions. We believe that this letter calls on IMO to advance this endeavour.

In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol handed responsibility for limiting and reducing international shipping emissions to the UN specialized agency responsible for regulating these sectors—the IMO. The IMO requires all vessels to prepare and hold a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan, or SEEMP, document, but there are no targets or requirements associated with that document. In addition, an IMO-imposed design-efficiency standard for new ships took effect in 2013. However, it will take a generation to affect the global fleet, and its stringency and effectiveness are in question.

Read the letter here.

For all media enquiries, contact Kate Astley at BLUE Communications.
T: +44 1865 514 214
E: kate@blue-comms.com

About Carbon War Room

Carbon War Room (CWR) was founded in 2009 as a global nonprofit by Sir Richard Branson and a group of likeminded entrepreneurs. It intervenes in markets to accelerate the adoption of business solutions that reduce carbon emissions at gigaton scale and advance the low-carbon economy. CWR merged with Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in 2014 and now operates as an RMI business unit. The combined organization engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.

About Shipping Efficiency

Carbon War Room launched Shipping Efficiency in 2010. Since then, it has worked with RightShip to develop the GHG Emissions Rating and make it publicly available at ShippingEfficiency.org. The Rating ranks vessels against others of a similar type and size on a simple A to G scale, from most to least efficient. It is now used by charterers to shift a fifth of the world’s shipped tonnage to more efficient ships annually and by other shipping stakeholders, including ports and banks. In 2016, it launched BetterFleet, the first publicly available and comprehensive online portal revealing the operational efficiency of ships.

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