Whilst aviation and shipping along with other mobile and non-domestic sources were excluded from the emissions-reduction targets agreed under the Kyoto convention of 1997, there has been growing pressure to include these two sectors in any successor to the protocol. Their contribution to total global emissions is around 5%, is growing and should be easier to regulate than the much larger road sector (of which more in a later posting).
The European Union has introduced legislation (Directive 2008/101/EC) to include civil aviation in Phase III of its emissions trading scheme. This will cover all flights starting and/or landing in Europe from 1st January 2012. Initially, 85 percent of the emissions are to be allocated for free and 15 percent will be auctioned. From 2013 onwards, allocations will be reduced annually by some 5 percent of the historically accumulated total.
The cost of implementation is likely to add an average of €8 to ticket prices on top of airport taxes and landing charges that most governments already levy on flying. Whilst drawing the ire of many airlines both within and outside the EU, there is a recognition that longer term the European scheme may become part of an international system. Although this may take several years to implement via Kyoto, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recently announced that its members have agreed to implement a program of emissions cuts. This will involve:
- Improving fuel efficiency by an annual average of 1.5% to 2020
- Stabilizing emissions with carbon-neutral growth after 2020
- Cutting emissions to 50% of 2005 values by 2050
Radical innovations in aircraft body, engine and fuel technology will be required to meet these targets,
The shipping industry has long argued the difficulty of assigning emissions from international operations to particular national economies and has therefore proposed that any measures adopted should be delivered via its own regulatory body, the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This would ensure rules were enforced worldwide.
Regulating the maritime emissions of carbon dioxide would be covered under Annex VI to the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78). This Annex deals with atmospheric pollution, where the focus in recent years has been on ratifying a program to progressively reduce the emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulates from ships by enforcing higher standards on the quality of fuel they burn - a legacy issue dating from the 1990's when acid rain, ozone pre-cursors and the quality of air at ground level were of a more immediate concern than climate change.
Comparison of CO2 Emissions between Different Modes of Transport
Source: Shipping, World Trade and the Reduction of CO2 Emissions
A newly published study reveals the IMO's thinking on how it proposes to extend the technical provisions of Annex VI to cover the abatement of greenhouse gases. This would involve the implementation of energy efficiency measures, both in the design and the operation of vessels, rather than a system of marine emissions trading. A technical solution to the problem is probably seen by those within the industry as the most practical way to proceed, but there is a concern that it may take too many years to reach a consensus and then ratify any new technical standard. In practice, the industry may need to buy into a political mix of enhanced energy performance and emissions trading such as promoted by SEAaT.
In preparation for the climate change summit to be held in Copenhagen this December, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has launched a web site: Shipping and CO2 which aims to show the industry's commitment to reducing global CO2 emissions. Whilst the ICS backs the idea of trading schemes to control emissions, it admits that the application of market based instruments (MBIs) to international shipping is proving to be a most difficult subject. For example, the Financial Times reports that some ship owning associations subscribe to the idea of using a trading scheme, whilst others consider a levy on the fuel used by ships to be a more effective way of alleviating the effects of climate change.
Shipping releases less emissions per tonne-km than road or air freight (see diagram above), but more significantly is the globalisation of trade and consequent increase of total tonnes shipped. There does however appear to be a consensus that by 2020 through a combination of technical and operational initiatives, the industry should be able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per tonne / km by some 15-20%.
|Share this post:|