Carbon targets should include ocean freight

LinkedIn +

International shipping should be included in UK carbon emission targets for 2050, according the Committee on Climate Change which advises the UK government.

The committee believes that the UK’s share of international shipping could account for up to 11 per cent of total emissions permitted under the Climate Change Act by 2050. That equates to 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the total of 160 million tonnes.

Emissions from international aviation and shipping are not currently included in carbon budgets or in the UK’s target to reduce emissions in 2050 by 80 per cent below 1990 levels.

But, under the Climate Change Act, parliament must decide by the end of 2012 whether they should be included.

The committee also recommends that the government should work with the European Commission to gain access to fuel use data from ship operators to resolve uncertainties over current emissions, and that the government should support market based approaches to reducing shipping emissions, ideally global but if not at the EU level.

The report suggests a number of ways of reducing emissions:

* Upgrading propulsion systems and engines

* Applying hull coatings or increasing the frequency of hull cleaning

* Supplementary power systems to make use of solar or wind power

* Reducing the speed at which ships travel

* Using towing kites to allow ships to use wind energy.

* Using software to help navigators find the safest and most efficient route

* Improving port turn-around times

* Alternative fuels such as bio-fuel and LNG

The Committee suggests three options for inclusion:

1. International shipping emissions are included in the 2050 target and carbon budgets now.

2. They are included in the 2050 target and carbon budgets when progress has been made on a methodology to accurately reflect international shipping emissions.

3. They are included in the 2050 target now, and in carbon budgets when progress has been made on a methodology to accurately reflect UK international shipping emissions.

The committee will decide on which option to recommend to the government in March 2012.

David Kennedy, chief executive of the committee, said: “It is clear that shipping emissions could well be significant, and so cannot be ignored – they should be included under the Climate Change Act. It is also clear that there is scope to reduce emissions, which would reduce costs of inclusion. To ensure this, the Government should proactively support development of new policies aimed at encouraging investment in cleaner shipping technologies and more efficient operational practices.”

Share this story: