Tag: Bunkers

All aboard: don’t leave out airplanes and ships

Climate negotiators spend much more of their lives on airplanes than they would no doubt wish for. Perhaps there is some kind of psychological repression that makes them want to forget about airplanes as soon as they arrive at the negotiations. But we can’t meet our climate objectives if we don’t include the large and fast-growing emissions from aircraft and ships travelling between countries, which are not included in national targets.

The negotiating text took an important step forward this week with the inclusion of text calling for setting emission targets for shipping and aviation, in the context of a 2 degrees C objective. The coming months are an opportunity for a dialogue between Parties on why this step is so crucial to an ambitious deal, and addressing any concerns raised.

The importance of this step is clear. Shipping and aviation account for about 6% of global emissions. Indirect impacts of these sectors, like cirrus cloud formation and black carbon, likely add several percent to these impacts. The IMO and ICAO have stated that BAU emissions will increase by up to 250% for shipping and 270% for aviation by 2050. They would account for one-quarter of all allowable emissions under a 2 degree scenario and one-third under a 1.5 degree scenario. A credible deal cannot exist without a role for IMO and ICAO, and an understanding of the contribution these sectors are prepared to make.

A key concern of Parties is to ensure that any measure adopted by IMO or ICAO conforms to their view of an appropriate application of the principles they hold dear. The text proposed doesn’t prejudge this–it merely requires each organisation to identify an emission reduction pathway, and leaves it for Parties to each organisation to require that any measures adopted are done so in a way that is fair and equitable.

ECO is convinced that solutions exist for emissions reduction measures that respect and reconcile the principles of the relevant bodies. Workable proposals to address differentiation and incidence have been advanced for both sectors. These include “route-based” differentiation for aviation. and for shipping, a financial mechanism that ensures that revenue from any carbon price or levy is allocated in a manner that differentiates between developed and developing countries, in accordance with their capabilities, responsibilities, and circumstances, particularly for SIDS and LDCs.

As discussions continue, the wording may need to be strengthened and improved. However, its intent is clear–all sectors must play their part and all emissions sources must be covered.

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Where are the bunkers?

In the final years of negotiations for the new climate agreement, it’s still not clear if it will include the fastest growing emissions sources—international aviation and shipping, also known as bunker fuels.

CO2 emissions from international shipping and aviation were about 950 MT and 705 MT respectively in 2012; combined they account for as much emissions as Germany, the sixth largest emitting country. When indirect effects are taken into account, the impact could already be approaching 10% of global climate forcing. In the almost 2 decades since the ICAO and IMO started discussing greenhouse gases, little concrete action has materialised, and scarily these emissions are on course to double or even treble by 2030. If emissions from these sectors are not addressed effectively by 2050, bunker emissions could swell to account for a quarter of all emissions. Such high emissions from the international transport sector would make it all but impossible to limit aggregate global warming to less than 2ºC as it would place an impossible emission reduction burden on other sectors.

IMO and ICAO discussions have seen limited progress.

Carbon neutral growth from 2020 is the most ambitious goal that the aviation sector has proposed, allowing emissions to grow to 2020 and then offsetting growth beyond that. This is far short of what is required for a 2ºC pathway, and there is little assurance that even these goals would be implemented.

International shipping emissions are predicted to increase between 50% and 250% by 2050. The IMO suspended consideration of market-based measures in 2011, and the question of setting a global cap on shipping emissions is not on the IMO agenda. Efficiency regulations agreed for new ships will likely not have a significant impact for several decades, and the shipping industry is now fighting any new measures.

At COP 21, the UNFCCC should mandate the setting of robust and meaningful reduction targets, as well as the adoption of mitigation measures that will ensure these sectors begin to play a fair and equal role in addressing dangerous climate change. ECO welcomes the introduction of text in the ADP yesterday which demands the setting of targets for emissions from these sectors consistent with staying below 2ºC.

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Bunkers: No More Evasive Maneuvers

The way things are going, ships and airplanes will be able to cruise the seas and skies without serious emissions control measures for some years to come. Earlier this year the International Maritime Organization (IMO) indefinitely suspended its consideration of market based measures (MBMs) that can put a cap and a price on emissions in line with the polluter-pays principle.

In early October, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) decided to ‘develop’ (the text neglected to commit to actually ‘adopt’ or ‘implement’) an MBM by 2016 – not a particularly noteworthy achievement after well over a decade discussing these very measures. And the only emissions target mentioned in the agreement (but still in essence bracketed by party reservations) is carbon neutral growth after 2020. Meanwhile, under intense pressure from airlines and many governments, the EU is severely scaling back its ETS coverage of international air traffic, the only measure in the world that regulates aviation emissions.

The shipping and aviation industries must be very pleased with themselves. Thanks to their intensive lobbying of transport ministries and the tendency by governments to treat these sectors as a proxy for the broader negotiations, countries seeking action on emissions from these sectors have practically thrown in the towel.

Giving the IMO and ICAO free rein to pursue emissions from these sectors with no real accountability is not likely to turn out well for people or the planet. The owners of ships and airlines have much more direct influence over transport ministries that represent parties in these bodies. These sectors have benefitted from their unique access to tax-free fuels for too long to be willing to start paying their way now. Ambitious emissions reduction targets and anything resembling carbon pricing for these sectors is highly unlikely.

The UNFCCC must ensure that the international shipping and aviation sectors contribute their fair share to global efforts. They should be included in any considerations of equity, such as calculation of historical responsibility and other applicable indicators. The ADP and the COP must adopt decisions that either set emissions limits directly, or provide guidance to ensure a sufficient level of ambition in emissions reduction efforts, particularly in emissions limits set as part of global Market Based Measures. The new legal agreement to be finalized in 2015 must contain provisions that ensure these sectors contribute their fair share to global efforts.

To ensure accountability and adequate consideration of these sectors, the ADP must receive regular reports from ICAO and IMO on efforts to control GHG emissions from these sectors, including progress towards implementation of market based measures that can put a cap on emissions, put a price on emissions, and generate finance for climate action.

 

CAN Annual Policy Document: "Warsaw on the Road to Paris"

Executive Summary

Through a series of decisions adopted at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, countries reaffirmed their resolve to tackle climate change. They further built on those decisions at COP 18 in Doha, Qatar. This resolve is yet to be put into action as global emissions continue to push the world towards warming of 4 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century.

However, the Earth's planetary limits and thus tipping points of its ecosystem have almost been reached. There have been devastating impacts of climate change across the world in the form of super storms, floods, droughts and enhanced extreme weather events. Climate change impacts are costing countries scarce financial resources while the global economy continues facing a major downturn. Impacts are addressed temporarily as the root cause remains unaddressed.

Lack of political will continues to be the key impediment crippling progress in the UNFCCC. Inadequacy of financial resources has hampered ambitious mitigation actions. It has also slowed down effective operationalization of mechanisms meant to help the world cope with impacts of climate change. Key issues such as equity as well as loss and damage wait to be addressed adequately.

It is time that countries catch up with the reality of climate change. Displaying leadership and courage to take difficult decisions is the need of the hour. Lack of political will should not continue to impede ambitious action to tackle climate change.

CAN wishes to remind parties that a climate safe pathway for 2/1.5°C is still feasible and nations must strive for it at COP 19 in Warsaw. They only have the luxury of two more COPs to commit to a climate agreement in 2015. Time is of essence and there are still many unresolved issues - lack of trust between countries being the prominent one.

COP 19 should be used to start working towards a fair, ambitious and legally binding climate plan for the world. CAN suggests that COP 19, as a priority, should address short-term mitigation ambition and the financial gap. This will help build trust amongst parties and create a positive momentum towards a post 2015 climate regime.

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