Shipping industry proposes fund to tackle carbon emissions

BERLIN (AP) – A global shipping industry organisation is proposing a research and development (R&D) programme to help cut carbon dioxide emissions, funded by about USD5 billion from shipping companies over a decade.

The International Chamber of Shipping said yesterday that it is proposing creating a nongovernmental organisation to be known as the International Maritime Research and Development Board.

It would be overseen by member countries of the United Nations (UN) maritime agency and financed by shipping companies through a mandatory contribution of USD2 per metric tonne of marine fuel.

Environmental activists said that while shipping contributes only about two per cent of global greenhouse gases, the industry’s efforts are essential to combating climate change. Last year, members of the UN agency, the International Maritime Organisation, reached an agreement to cut the shipping industry’s emissions.

The strategy envisions cutting total annual emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2050 compared with 2008. It foresees “pursuing efforts toward phasing them out entirely”. The International Chamber of Shipping said that the proposed USD5 billion “is critical to accelerate the R&D effort required to decarbonise the shipping sector” and to spur the development of commercially viable zero-carbon ships by the early 2030s. It added that “additional stakeholders’ participation is welcomed.”

The group said that governments will discuss the shipping industry’s proposal when the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meets in London in March.