Swedish Owners Protest Shipping's Absence from Climate Pact

COP21 delegates (file photo)

By MarEx 2015-12-18 17:59:13

Staking out an ambitious position on climate action, the Swedish Shipowners Association has signed on to the government-led Fossil Free Sweden Initiative, which aims to facilitate CO2 reductions by industry with the eventual goal of net zero emissions.

The Association has already outlined its climate plan and presented it to the Swedish government. While acknowledging that many technological hurdles must be overcome in order to reach the net zero goal, “by joining the initiative . . . we are demonstrating our willingness to play our part”, said Pia Berglund, the Association's managing director.

The shipowners join a long list of prominent business participants in the initiative, including Ikea, Akzonobel, DHL, Scania, Siemens, Tesla, Volvo, and Coca-Cola. 

The Swedish Shipowners Association also gave a critical review of the COP21 conference outcome, saying that it did not go far enough to address transportation emissions.

“[We are] disappointed that shipping was not included in the new climate agreement that was struck in Paris,” the Association said. “It is our view that delegates in Paris failed to seize the moment [for shipping emissions] . . . and that more needs to be done to tackle the climate challenge.”

Their statement differs in outlook from those made by other representative bodies, such as the European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA) and the IMO. While ECSA had originally called for including the transportation sector in the COP21 deal, its leadership sounded a more conciliatory note following shipping's exclusion.

“Although shipping is not explicitly mentioned in the final text . . . we now call on Member States and the Commission to work [with the] IMO on the control of GHG emissions from international shipping,” said incoming ECSA President Niels Smedegaard.

The IMO had asserted its primacy in climate discussions for shipping, and had lobbied for the exclusion of transportation from COP21. Following the summit, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said that “the absence of any specific mention of shipping in the final text will in no way diminish the strong commitment of IMO as the regulator of the shipping industry to continue work to address GHG emissions.”