At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa (COP 17, Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, 2011), the global shipping industry, Oxfam and WWF have joined forces to suggest to governments how the further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping might best be regulated.
Oxfam, WWF and the International Chamber of Shipping (which represents over 80% of the world merchant fleet) call on delegates to COP 17 to give the International Maritime Organization (IMO) clear guidance on continuing its work on reducing shipping emissions through the development of Market Based Measures (MBMs). The organisations maintain that an effective regulatory framework for curbing emission of CO2 from international shipping must be global in nature and designed so as to reduce the possibility of 'carbon leakage', while taking full account of the best interests of developing countries and the UNFCCC principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities' (CBDR). This includes the possibility of the adoption by IMO of a compensation mechanism through which a significant share of any revenues collected from international shipping could be directed to developing countries and provide a new source of finance to support their efforts to tackle climate change.Such revenues could be directed through an appropriate channel, such as the Green Climate Fund, which will be discussed by governments in Durban.
While there are some differences over the detail of such an approach, both the civil society and shipping industry organisations emphasise that the immediate priority for governments meeting at COP 17 in Durban is not to work on technical details for shipping, but to provide the signals needed to allow resolution of the key political question of how to apply CBDR in the shipping sector, and assist the speedy completion of the IMO's work. With respect to any carbon charges that might be proposed by governments, they agree that the recent IMO agreement on technical and operational measures to reduce shipping emissions demonstrates that the IMO is eminently capable of developing a further international agreement for shipping on MBMs. In light of the urgency required to avoid catastrophic climate change, they called on all governments to take all steps necessary to expedite such an agreement at the IMO.