Shipowners urge EU-China climate cooperation

Shipowners urge EU-China climate cooperation

The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have called for greater EU-China climate cooperation following US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA).

The recent 19th EU-China Summit in Brussels indicated that EU and Chinese leaders are committed to implementing the Paris Agreement.

ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven said: “The withdrawal of the US from the PCA should not jeopardise an ambitious global strategy to reduce the shipping’s CO2 emissions.

“We are therefore pleased that the EU and China appear to be working towards reinforced co-operation on delivering a climate agreement for shipping at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).”

The IMO will begin greenhouse gas reduction strategy discussions at the 71st session of its Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and hope to establish an initial strategy by 2018 before finalising it in 2023, after collection and analysis of real-time data on CO2 emissions.

Prior to the MEPC session four international shipowner organisations submitted a proposal to keep global CO2 emissions below 2008 levels while continually cutting them by a percentage agreed by the IMO until 2050.

ICS Secretary General Peter Hichliffe said: “We call upon the EU and China, and indeed all IMO Member States, to support the industry proposals.

“The priority of governments should be to focus on the development of alternative, fossil-free fuels and IMO should assess whether holding CO2 below 2008 levels can be achieved with technical and operational measures alone.”

However both the ECSA and ICS expressed concern over unilateral measures the EU and China are considering under individual emission trading schemes.

Verhoeven and Hinchliffe said: “We remain firmly opposed to a patchwork of regional schemes that would distort international shipping markets while doing little to tackle the reduction of the global industry’s actual emissions.

“Imposing regional solutions will be counter productive. It will anger developing nations that have agreed to participate in the IMO process despite their concerns about the implications for their economic development, making the prospect of a global agreement on truly meaningful CO2 reductions far more difficult if not impossible.”