Shipping could be responsible for 17% of global CO2 emissions in 2050 if left unregulated, a study published by European Parliament says.
The coming Paris Climate Summit therefore must send a clear signal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that CO2 reduction targets and measures for shipping are needed to help keep warming below dangerous levels, according to environmental groups Seas At Risk, Transport & Environment (T&E) and the Marine Conservation Society.
The NGOs further said that the IMO, the UN body tasked with tackling the climate impacts of shipping, “has so far failed to grasp the nettle on shipping’s growing contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” whilst the proposal for emissions cuts from industry – as represented by the International Chamber of Shipping – would fall short of what shipping needs to do to help meet the 2°C warming target limit by some 121%.
The European Parliament’s study took into account the IMO’s research which found that shipping GHG emissions are up 70% since 1990 and are projected to grow by up to a further 250% by 2050.
However the IMO’s Secretary General Koji Sekimizu recently said that “…measures aimed at reducing shipping’s overall contribution of CO2 emissions…would artificially limit the ability of shipping to meet the demand created by the world economy, or would unbalance the level playing field that the shipping industry needs for efficient operation, and therefore must be avoided.”
Without inclusion of ship GHG emissions in the Paris agreement and significant additional action to reduce emissions, shipping will consume a growing proportion of the 2 degree carbon budget and ultimately make it all but impossible to meet climate stabilisation targets, the NGOs added.
“Now we know that, left unregulated, ships and airplanes could be responsible for almost 40% of global emissions in 2050 if other sectors decarbonise. Any deal in Paris must lead to an emissions reduction target and measures for shipping and aviation, otherwise the efforts of all other sectors of the global economy to meet the 2 degree target could be derailed,” Sotiris Raptis, shipping and aviation policy officer at T&E, said.