Friday, April 06, 2018

Climate Talks for Shipping ‘On A Knife-Edge’ As Deadline Looms

A draft text would see shipping halve its carbon footprint by 2050, but experts say that falls short of the Paris Agreement goals.

Cargo ship (Credit: Flickr/Derell Licht) Click to Enlarge.
Talks on a climate target for international shipping looked fragile on Friday, with countries deeply divided a week before the deadline.

Campaigners warned the draft level of ambition at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting was out of line with the Paris Agreement goal to hold global warming “well below 2C” and aim for 1.5C.

A negotiating text circulated on Friday morning proposed to cut the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions “at least 50%” from 2008 levels by 2050.

That falls short of the 70-100% reduction European and Pacific island states say is needed to align with the Paris pact.  Yet the very inclusion of an absolute emission reduction target is controversial with countries like Brazil, India, and Saudi Arabia, who have raised concerns about the impact on trade and development.

“The talks are on a knife-edge,” Tristan Smith, clean shipping expert at UCL said at a press conference with Pacific island leaders on the sidelines.  “There is no guarantee that these people’s countries are safe and there is no guarantee that the Paris Agreement goals are safe either.”

Analysis: Will the IMO deliver the climate deal of 2018?
Speaking in a bar on a boat outside IMO headquarters, representatives of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu emphasized the importance of the deal to their countries.  As small island states, they are vulnerable to sea level rise and intensifying tropical storms that come with climate change.

Marshall Islands is also responsible for the world’s second largest shipping registry, giving it extra leverage in IMO negotiations.

Read more at Climate Talks for Shipping ‘On A Knife-Edge’ As Deadline Looms

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