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IMO to begin talks on reducing ship emissions

IMO to begin talks on reducing ship emissions
IANS | April 1, 2018

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will begin talks in London on Tuesday to discuss proposals to limit and reduce emissions by ships.

This might also be the deciding year for India to initiate steps to limit the increasing problem of emissions of greenhouse gases from maritime transportation, experts said on Sunday.

India has been one of the earliest members of the IMO, having ratified its convention and joined it as a member-state in 1959.

"Since 2016 uptil now, there have been several arguments made for and against an ambitious target. A more conservative approach led by China and supported by India and Brazil calls the targets to be data driven and for the adoption of a common but differentiated, responsibilities principle as it is in the Paris Agreement," an Indian negotiator, who is attending the London meeting, told IANS.

China is the world's largest fleet operator and the third largest in terms of total dead-weight tonnage.

Shipping has been excluded from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which embraces common but differentiated responsibilities, precisely because it is a global cross-border industry where it is hard or impossible to break down individual countries' contributions.

The IMO instead operates on a non-discriminatory basis between ships - all face the same regulations, whichever country they're registered in.

According to a UN report, compared to China, India and Brazil were minor players in the shipping industry with 1.21 per cent and 0.88 per cent, respectively, of the overall world share.

Even the OECD's International Transport Forum (ITF), with 59 member countries including India, in a report released on March 27 talked about decarbonising maritime transport by 2035.

Zero emissions from shipping by 2035 is the most ambitious proposal on the table at the IMO, made by the climate-vulnerable Marshall Islands and allies.

This report, therefore, directly undercuts the arguments made by Japan that only 50 per cent decarbonisation much later by 2060 is technically feasible.

The main driver for the growth of global shipping emissions is the rise of international trade, projected to almost double by 2035 and growing at a rate of approximately three per cent per year until 2050.

By 2035, China and India could dominate global trade with 23 per cent of global export flows.

The share of export values from Europe might be reduced to 26 per cent of the global export flows in 2035, compared to 33 per cent in 2015.

According to OECD 2015 estimates, South and South East Asia will be the most affected by sea level rise, with the highest impact in India and other developing countries in the region.

Experts say the OECD report also undermines the previous arguments that "no absolute cap" on the shipping sector's carbon emissions should be imposed, because to do so would hamper world trade.

Instead it lays out the pathways for shipping to embrace new fuel technologies to reach a low and ultimately zero-carbon future in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.