ICS Calls for "Realistic" CO2 Targets

File image courtesy OECD

Published Nov 21, 2017 8:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, at a forum on green shipping in Paris, the International Chamber of Shipping called on the OECD to help shipowners invest in clean technology by clamping down on the government subsidies that contribute to overcapacity. 

"The perennial challenge facing shipowners is overcapacity, aided and abetted by government subsidies and support measures that encourage shipyards to produce ships that are surplus to requirements," said ICS director of policy Simon Bennett. "If governments are serious about helping the shipping industry deliver on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the OECD needs to reboot efforts to have a global agreement on the elimination of market distorting measures from shipbuilding. Despite being in existence for over 50 years it's disappointing that the working party on shipbuilding has still made little progress, with the last round of negotiations on a new OECD agreement having been suspended several years ago." 

ICS also highlighted its own steps towards reducing shipping's environmental impact – notably a proposal for IMO to ban the carriage of high sulfur bunker fuels in order to enable enforcement of the 2020 sulfur cap, thereby ensuring fair competition. 

However, Bennett also called on IMO member states to moderate their near-term ambitions for reductions in shipping's CO2 emissions. "So long as ships are dependent on fossil fuels, IMO member states need to be both politically and technologically realistic about what can be achieved in the short term if this is to [be] compatible with the legitimate concerns of emerging economies," he said. Bennett also reiterated ICS’ vision for zero CO2 emissions as soon as possible using alternative fuels and new propulsion technologies.

A recent report by U.K.-based climate policy research group InfluenceMap accused ICS and other prominent shipowners' organizations of lobbying at IMO to obstruct policies to limit shipping's CO2 emissions. "[ICS, WSC and BIMCO] have lobbied to delay GHG emissions reduction measures for shipping until 2023 and rejected any binding greenhouse gas emissions targets. They have also collectively opposed ambitious energy efficiency standards and appear unsupportive of a price on carbon," the report alleged. 

Bennett categorically denied the allegations. “Far from seeking to derail progress it was the shipping industry which played a large part in persuading IMO Member States to develop a strategy to address the further reduction of the sector's emissions following the adoption of the Paris Agreement," he said in a statement.