The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the world's largest trade organization for ship operators, proposed a detailed global levy on carbon emissions from ships, a first for any industry, ICS said Monday.
Representing the world’s national shipowner associations and more than 80% of the merchant fleet, the ICS presented a submission on Friday to the United Nations (UN), calling for an internationally accepted, market-based measure to accelerate the uptake and deployment of zero-carbon fuels.
According to papers handed to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN’s regulatory body on shipping, the levy would be based on mandatory contributions by ships trading globally, exceeding 5,000 gross tonnage, for each tonne of CO2 emitted, the ICS said.
The money would go into an ‘IMO Climate Fund’ which, as well as closing the price gap between zero-carbon and conventional fuels, would be used to deploy the bunkering infrastructure required in ports throughout the world to supply fuels, such as hydrogen and ammonia, ensuring consistency in the industry’s green transition for both developed and developing economies.
The IMO has recognized the need for immediate action to decarbonize shipping, which accounts for around 2% of global carbon emissions.
“The industry is desperate to see zero-carbon ships brought to the water by shipyards by 2030. However, at current rates of production, zero-carbon fuels are not commercially available at the scale needed for the global fleet. The carbon levy is intended to expedite the creation of a market that makes zero-emission shipping viable,” the ICS said.
The fund would calculate the climate contributions that ships will make, collect the contributions, and give evidence they have been made.
The ICS said it hopes that it would also support new bunkering infrastructure, so that new fuels, when developed, can be made available globally and from as many ports as possible.
To minimize any burden on UN member states and ensure the rapid establishment of the carbon levy, the ICS said the framework proposed by industry would utilize the mechanism already proposed by governments for a separate $5 billion R&D Fund to accelerate the development of zero-carbon technologies.
The IMO will have an inter-sessional working group meeting in late October, ahead of a Marine Environment Protection Committee session in late November, which will discuss problems such as carbon reduction measures.
“What shipping needs is a truly global market-based measure (MBM) like this that will reduce the price gap between zero-carbon fuels and conventional fuels,” Guy Platten, secretary-general of the ICS, was quoted as saying in the statement.
Platten stressed the need for putting zero-emission ships in the water by 2030 without challenging price and safety issues.
“If the IMO lends its backing to our proposal, then we may yet be able to change this and deploy technologies economically and equitably,” he noted.
By Sibel Morrow