Reducing CO2 emissions within the shipping industry is a key focus of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which is currently meeting in London.
Climate Home reports that the first two days of the talks, which run until 28 October, have been dominated by discussions over how to deal with the climate impact of overseas shipping.
Although all the governments involved in the talks agree there is a need to reduce emissions, there is disagreement over the scale and timeframe for any such action.
Officials attending the meeting have called on the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to take the lead in reducing emissions.
Talks primarily centre around the Paris Agreement – a UN initiative designed to ensure global temperatures do not rise more than two degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. The convention has currently been ratified by 86 parties and is due to come into force on 4 November 2016.
Within the shipping industry, a coalition of European, African and small island nations has submitted a paper recommending that the sector’s “fair share of global carbon cuts” is defined, Climate Home reported.
However, emerging economies including India, Brazil and China have been disputed whether defining this ‘fair share’ is necessary.
Ahead of the talks beginning, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) backed the idea of establishing shipping’s fair share of emissions, and stressed that greenhouse gas reduction targets should be based on the IMO’s third greenhouse gas study, rather than on ongoing data collection and global measuring.
Ian Petty, general manager of SSI, described this as a “crossroads” for the sector, adding “it must choose to embark on an accelerated innovation pathway to ensure its long-term relevance as the backbone of global commerce”.
He concluded that the industry needs help from legislators to achieve any emission reduction targets that are agreed.