Maritime Levy to help fight climate change

Source: Elli Touray¸ PKF Malta¸ 16 December 2011

During the United Nations climate change talks in Durban¸ South Africa¸ it was agreed that a “Green Climate Fund” should be set up to channel £60bn ($100bn) per annum into helping developing countries to adapt to climate change and cut carbon emissions by 2020.

Therefore¸ the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)¸ which represents over 80% of the world merchant fleet¸ has joined forces with both Oxfam and the WWF in support of a maritime carbon levy.

At the moment¸ things are moving very slowly as countries fight over how the money will be raised and which institutions will distribute the funds. The levy would be probably administered by the UN’s International Maritime Organization which regulates shipping and start looking at ways to set up the tax.

The shipping industry currently accounts for 3% of the world’s greenhouse gases; however¸ much like the aviation industry¸ legislation and law-binding targets to curb emissions have yet to be established. Shipping would raise around $25bn per annum¸ about 0.2 per cent of global trade¸ adding a fraction of cost to freighted goods and cruises.

The fuel levy would mostly affect cargo ships¸ but would also affect cruise ships. It would not be on smaller ships¸ such as those that travel between island states¸ fishing craft or anything that departs and returns to the same country.

The EU want the world to agree a deal to cut carbon emissions by 2015 but this is looking increasingly unlikely because the US¸ China¸ India and Brazil are all unwilling to sign  the agreement to cut emissions because they fear it will damage their economies.

With around 3% of the worlds total emissions¸ full participation of the shipping sector will help greatly towards keeping global warming below the 2°C target agreed by governments. Putting a charge on carbon in the global shipping sector can have huge benefits in meeting our climate change objectives¸” said the Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative¸ Samantha Smith.

Nevertheless¸ it is more important than ever. A study by German scientists released in Durban examined that current carbon pledges would drive Earth to warming of 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit)¸ compared to the 2.0C (3.6F) UN target. [1¸2¸3]

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