Aircraft and shipping emissions on course for Copenhagen



Posted on 06 October 2009  | 
Bangkok, Thailand – Negotiations to bring international aviation and shipping emissions under a Copenhagen climate treaty have begun in earnest at UN climate negotiations now underway in Bangkok, in a signal the world has lost patience with a lack of serious action by the international transport sector.

International aviation and shipping emissions, together more than one billion tons of CO2 annually and increasing significantly, were originally entrusted to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) under the Kyoto Protocol.

“In the 12 years since the Kyoto Protocol gave these emissions to the ICAO and IMO to manage, they have failed to pass a single binding measure,” said Peter Lockley, head of transport policy at WWF. “The delegates here in Bangkok are sending a message that these important sources of emissions need to be addressed.”

The timing is particularly important as the ICAO begins three days of meetings in Montreal beginning on October 7th in a last ditch effort to agree to meaningful measures.

“We expect a blitz of positive public relations from the ICAO this week as they attempt to hide the fact that all proposals on the table have very weak targets that are voluntary and could be achieved simply by buying offsets,” added Lockley. “What we really need are binding emissions reduction targets with a clear timetable for delivering policies to meet them.”

It is estimated that emissions from aviation and shipping will double or even triple by 2050 if left unaddressed, potentially taking up two-thirds of a 'safe' global greenhouse gas budget calculated to keeping average global warming well below the 2 degrees centigrade threshold for unacceptable risks of catastrophic or runaway climate change.

As the sectors are international, developed countries are calling for global policies. But in order for this to be acceptable to the developing world, the revenues from these policies must be spent on fighting climate change in developing countries.

“European Finance Ministers are currently considering proposals to use these revenues as climate finance for developing countries, but we are hearing strong indications that some countries would rather keep the money for themselves,” said Lockley.

"It's vital they see past their short-term interests and allow the money to flow, otherwise they will be wrecking the efforts of their own negotiators to reach a deal in Copenhagen."

Shipping containers in the port of Sorrento, Italy
© Edward Parker/WWF-Canon Enlarge

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