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US$5 billion fund to cut shipping CO2

A London-based trade association proposed creating an organization to run a US$5 billion research fund for eliminating carbon from global shipping.

LONDON (AN) — An international trade association proposed creating a non-governmental organization that would oversee a US$5 billion research fund to help eliminate carbon emissions from global shipping.

The London-based International Chamber of Shipping announced on Wednesday the fund would pave the way for the decarbonization of shipping through new technologies, zero-carbon fuels and other energy efficiency measures, including speed reduction. Global shipping contributes about 2% of global greenhouse gases.

The ICS said it aims to create an International Maritime Research and Development Board as a non-governmental research and development organization that would be overseen by the trade association's 34 member nations including Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United States. It plans to discuss the proposal at a March meeting in London.

The board would tap a research fund with US$5 billion raised by industry over 10 years to help it meet United Nations targets on cutting emissions backed by the U.N.'s International Maritime Organization. Shipping companies would support the fund through a mandatory payment of US$2 per metric ton of marine fuel.

Simon Bennett, ICS's deputy secretary general, said a US$2 per metric ton fuel contribution would raise about US$5 billion over a decade based on global shipping's projected use of 250 million tons a year. About 90% of the world's trade is transported by ships.

In September, IMO launched an initiative for ships and marine fuels to shift to zero carbon emissions on the high seas by 2030. Its long term goal is to cut total annual emissions in 2050 by 50% from 2008 levels while “pursuing efforts toward phasing them out entirely.”

"The shipping industry must reduce its CO2 emissions to meet the ambitious challenge that the International Maritime Organization has set," said Esben Poulsson, who chairs ICS and heads Singapore-based shipping management firm Enesel Pte. Ltd. "This proposal is simple, accountable and deliverable, and we hope governments will support this bold move.”

New technologies

The shipping industry has been studying how to cut emissions by shifting towards new zero-carbon technologies and propulsion systems and the use of hydrogen, ammonia, fuel cells, batteries and synthetic fuels produced from renewable energy sources.

IMO adopted regulations on air pollutants from ships and mandatory energy-efficiency measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping, and it says it is helping projects that further those goals. In April 2018, it agreed on an initial strategy of supporting “a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals."

The 2015 treaty adopted by almost 200 nations committed the world to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C. above pre-industrial levels.”

The world has already warmed by about 1 degree C. above pre-industrial levels, so the choice is really between another 1 degree C. or, preferably, no more than a half-degree C. more of global warming.

The latest U.N. climate summit ended in Madrid a week ago without resolving a key issue of how to put a price on carbon emissions, and only partial agreement for more ambition in cutting greenhouse gases.