If the shipping sector were a country, it would have the 7th largest CO2 emissions in the world. Official IMO projections suggest that without further action shipping emissions will increase by 50-250% by 2050. On this basis shipping could be responsible for 17% of all emissions by 2050. This points to how critical it is for shipping to contribute its fair share towards achievement of the 1.5°C goal. To be in line with the goals of the Paris agreement, annual emissions must be peaked in the immediate future and quickly reduced thereafter.
An important first step in the road to creating a decarbonized fleet is a clear political commitment to do so in an appropriate time frame, meaning absolute emission will have to drop to zero by 2050 at the latest. In addition to agreeing to decarbonise by mid-century, immediate measures will be needed to peak emissions in the short term including regulating ship speed - slow steaming - and strengthening the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). Following the establishment of short term measures, longer term measures will be needed to establish an effective carbon price for the sector, including a maritime fund. Any ambition gap left behind after the IMO has acted will need to be filled by states, acting either nationally, bilaterally or regionally.
The aviation sector is a top-ten global emitter whose emissions are expected to rise dramatically by mid-century. Under current scenarios, the aviation sector could emit 56 GtCO2 over the period 2016-2050, or one-quarter of the remaining carbon budget.1 It is critical that the global aviation sector contribute its fair share towards achieving a 1.5°C future. Aviation, therefore, needs to immediately start to reduce its in-sector emissions, then rapidly reduce its emissions and fully decarbonize toward the second half of this century. In addition to the sector’s CO2 emissions, aviation’s non-CO2 effects need to be addressed. Aviation emissions are 2.1% of the global share, but when non-CO2 effects are included, aviation contributes an estimated 4.9% to the global warming problem. Hence, the global aviation sector must have both zero CO2 emissions and zero non-CO2 effects on the climate by the end of the century.
National governments, subnational governments, the aviation industry, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society must do more to harness viable technological and policy solutions to sharply reduce the sector’s emissions by 2050 and fully decarbonize within the second half of the century. While current policy measures set by governments are a step forward to addressing aviation’s runaway emissions, they are woefully insufficient to achieve necessary levels of deep decarbonization within the sector.
While many stakeholders have a role to play in the aviation industry’s decarbonization, bold government action will, in the end, define whether the aviation sector is able to contribute its fair share to ensure a 1.5°C future. A methodical next step for governments—at the subnational, national, regional and international level—is to set long-term decarbonization pathways for aviation that are compatible with the Paris Agreement and a roadmap to adhere to these pathways. The elements of a roadmap for aviation’s decarbonization include:
- Deploying near-term technology solutions (efficiency and operational measures and alternative fuels with lower lifecycle emissions than fossil jet fuel);
- Addressing non-CO2 effects through mitigation measures;
- Investing in transformative, breakthrough clean aviation technologies;
- Strengthening the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA);
- Strengthening the ICAO CO2 standard;
- Revisiting aviation subsidies;
- Developing new mobility solutions to support modal shift;
- Creating new business models for the aviation industry;
- Climate-proofing aviation against the effects of a changing climate; and
- Ensuring compatibility with the Paris Agreement.
The 16th Informal Meeting on Further Actions Against Climate Change or the Japan-Brazil Informal Meeting provides an opportunity for key Parties to initiate the critical discussions that need to happen in 2018 and agree on important issues ahead of the UNFCCC intersessions in April. Climate Action Network provides this Briefing outlining its top line expectations for 2018 with the view of guiding the Ministers at this Meeting.
The prevalence of extreme weather events and climate impacts experienced all over the world in 2017 - hurricanes in the Caribbean, heavy floods in South Asia, floods and droughts in Africa, droughts and rising sea levels in the Pacific, changing rainfall including flooding in South America - make it very clear that we have no time to waste. The most vulnerable people in the frontlines of climate change require finance for loss and damage urgently.
It is essential that the review of the Warsaw Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) at the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 25) in 2019 results in the full operationalisation of the WIM. This will be achieved by establishing a finance arm, with modalities for channelling and accessing loss and damage finance by the 2019 review from a clear menu of options developed by the WIM and the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF). We cannot lose more time in delaying meaningful discussions with the rapidly increasing and worsening climate change impacts that are being felt across the globe. CAN urges all countries to proactively and positively engage in these discussions.
The WIM Executive Committee (ExCom) and the SCF will need to undertake additional work over 2018 and 2019 to develop and discuss the concepts necessary to achieve this. Ample focus must be given to this task, comparable to all other elements of their respective workplans. It is essential for the Subsidiary Bodies and the COP to consider progress on loss and damage finance at each meeting.