14 March 2018, SUVA: The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) has published a Position Paper in regards to Shipping Emissions negotiations taking place at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The paper is an outcome of the Pacific Maritime Technical Officers Workshop on Shipping Emissions hosted by PIDF in Suva in February.
The IMO is scheduled to deliver an Initial Strategy on international shipping GHG emissions reduction by the 72nd Maritime Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 72) in April 2018. This IMO Initial Strategy will, among other matters, determine the vision and level of ambition, and is expected to include an ‘action plan’ on the development of short-term measures (2018-2023).
The Secretary General of the PIDF, François Martel said that this “paper recognises that failure by the global community to achieve a strong Initial Strategy will likely mean that future efforts from shipping will be insufficient to ensure the world limit temperature rise to 1.5⁰C. The Pacific has been clear on the need that the world limits temperature rise to 1.5⁰C, as also reflected in the Paris Agreement, and for us to do so all sectors need to do their part, including the Maritime transport sector.”
All Pacific submissions to date have advocated for a level of ambition consistent with shipping accepting a sectoral fair share approach and a no more than 1.5⁰C global temperature increase consistent with the Paris Agreement goal. The available science advises that this level of ambition requires shipping emissions to peak as soon as possible and to reach full decarbonisation by 2050 with substantive short-term measures being implemented well before 2023. It is considered that this would give a 50% chance of not exceeding a 1.5⁰C warming threshold with shipping sectoral emissions held as a constant percentage of global emissions.
The paper notes there is no agreement on what short-term measures (for the period 2018-2023) will be committed to, and when or how they would be implemented. A decarbonisation by 2050 strategy requires clear and significant short-term measures to be adopted if momentum is to be built and a clear decarbonisation pathway be demonstrated. Without this it is difficult to see how the ambition is given effect.
The paper states that the “available science is clear that a delay in determining and implementing substantive measures until after 2023 makes a 1.5⁰C target largely unattainable. To keep 1.5⁰C alive, the Initial Strategy must include commitment to implementation of adequate short-term measures to demonstrate early IMO/industry commitment to a decarbonisation trajectory.”
The paper also identifies five issues that are particularly relevant to the Pacific:
a) potential risk of disproportionately increased transport cost;
b) potential negative implications for transport dependency and security, disaster preparation and response;
c) ability of States to participate in the IMO Roadmap processes;
d) ability of States to execute any increase in their international responsibility as flag and port States; and
e) ability to maximize opportunity for design and implementation of domestic and national aspects of the decarbonisation agenda and to ensure domestic capacity to meet any stepped changes.
The PIDF Pacific Position Paper on Shipping Emissions was developed with the support of the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transportation (MCST) jointly run by the University of the South Pacific and the Government of Marshall Islands and the University College London.
This was discussed and refined at a workshop in February in Fiji organised by PIDF and MCST together with Fiji’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and supported by the Government of France. The workshop had delegates from a number of PIDF member countries which are also members of the IMO including Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
The position paper may be accessed here.
The PDF version of this press release is here.
Read about the outcomes of the Pacific Maritime Technical Officers Workshop on Shipping Emissions here.