ICS: Shipping Holds Firm to CO2 Reduction Despite US Withdrawal from Paris Accord

The decision of the President Trump on US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will have no impact on the shipping industry’s commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions, according to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

This message will be stated at today’s session of the United Nations Ocean Conference being held in New York from June 5-9.

Speaking at the session on the prevention of ocean acidification, the ICS plans to present some what the chamber described as ambitious objectives on CO2 reduction which the industry wants the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt on behalf of the international shipping sector. According to the ICS, these objectives should be adopted in the same way that governments under the Paris Agreement have adopted CO2 reduction commitments on behalf of their national economies.

The industry has proposed that the IMO should agree an objective of keeping total CO2 emissions from the shipping sector below 2008 levels and then cut total annual CO2 emissions from the sector by 2050 by a percentage to be agreed by the IMO.

This is in addition to an existing industry commitment to cut CO2 emissions per tonne of cargo carried one kilometer by 50% by 2050, compared to 2008.

“Shipping, because of its great size, is currently responsible for about 2.2% of annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions. According to IMO, shipping has reduced its total CO2 emissions by more than 13% between 2008 and 2012, despite increased maritime trade, but there is a perception that shipping, whose emissions cannot be attributed to individual nations, may have somehow ‘escaped’ the Paris Agreement,” Simon Bennett, ICS Director of Policy, said.

The shipping industry has made these proposals to the next session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee, which meets in London at the end of June.

In three weeks’ time in London, the IMO will open the first of a series of meetings to develop a strategy for further reducing CO2 from ships in order to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement.

During the UN Ocean Conference, the ICS is to stress that shipping has an impressive environmental performance and is a driver of ‘green growth’. In addition to reducing CO2, the industry is committed to the implementation in 2020 of the global cap on the sulphur content of marine fuel, at an anticipated collective cost of around USD 100 billion per annum.

ICS will also press for government regulators to give equal priority to each of the three pillars of sustainable development identified by the UN – economic, social and environmental.

ICS argues that understanding the importance of economic factors in achieving sustainable development is especially important in view of shipping’s role in the continuing spread of global prosperity and the movement of about 90% of trade in goods, energy and raw materials.