Sunday, April 17, 2016

Calls for Shipping and Aviation to Do More to Cut Emissions - The New York Times

Trucks loaded with rice are parked at a shipping dock of the Autonomous Port of Conakry, on April 13, 2016. The Bollore group headquarters, which houses Bollore Africa Logostics, was searched on April 8, 2016 as part of an investigation into the conditions of how concessions were granted in the use of the harbours of Conakry (Guinea) and Lome (Togo), it was announced on April 12, 2016.  (Credit: / AFP / CELLOU) Click to Enlarge.
Even though commercial aviation and ocean shipping are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, they were excluded from the Paris climate treaty, to be signed by more than 100 countries this week at the United Nations in New York.

Now governments and advocacy groups are pressuring these industries to take stronger steps to curb pollution.

A coalition of European, North African and South Pacific nations is lobbying the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations agency that oversees shipping, to start discussing an emissions-reduction commitment at a meeting in London that will begin Monday.

“We need to do something and go beyond what we already have, and set some very specific targets,” said Fran├žois Martel, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Development Forum. The forum’s members include the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands, two of six nations that have made a proposal, expected to be taken up at the meeting, that shipping contribute a “fair share” to reducing emissions.

Another United Nations agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization, has for years been considering a market-based strategy in which airlines could purchase “offsets,” or emissions reductions from renewable energy or conservation projects, to cover at least some international flights.

Advocacy groups are pressuring the agency to adopt as strict a system as possible when it meets for its triennial assembly in Montreal this fall.

“If we’re going to have offsets, then they actually have to deliver the tons of reductions they say they will,” said Bill Hemmings, the director of aviation and shipping at Transport & Environment, an environmental group based in Brussels.

Nigel Purvis, the chief executive of Climate Advisers, a consulting group in Washington, said airlines were likely to increase spending significantly on offsets from forest conservation projects.

“Airlines know this sector and are ready to play,” he said.

While some previous forest projects have been criticized for not delivering the reductions that were claimed, “now we have new rules about how to do forests in a way that as we scale up we maintain integrity,” Mr. Purvis added.

Aviation and shipping each contribute a little more than 2 percent of annual worldwide human-produced emissions of carbon dioxide.  Together that is more than the emissions from Japan, the world’s fifth-largest emitter.

Both industries are expected to grow over the next few decades, and their percentages of worldwide emissions may increase significantly as emissions are reduced elsewhere. Environmental groups say steps the industries have already taken, including regulations to reduce emissions from new aircraft and ships, will not help much because they are tied to baselines for improvement that are too low.

Yet after being included in initial drafts of the climate treaty, a paragraph on limiting or reducing emissions from the two industries was eliminated from the final version, which was agreed upon in Paris in mid-December.

Read more at Calls for Shipping and Aviation to Do More to Cut Emissions

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