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COP 17: Will a levy on bunkers do the trick?
9th November 2011 23:25 GMT

"Developing and embracing new technologies" seems to have become an empty cliché in the global pursuit for solutions that reduce the impact of shipping on our planet’s atmosphere.

Certainly as fuel prices rise, enthusiasm rises proportionately thus reinforcing the old adage that “if it don’t cost ‘em they won’t do it.”

A levy per tonne can make a difference by contributing to the Green Fund but will it motivate shipping companies to consider trying new ways of making their ships more efficient?

Australia recently passed a bill to place a $25 per tonne tax on carbon emissions produced by large companies.
Similar to the proposed tax on bunkers, a portion will be used to develop new technologies in a “Green Fund” and a portion used to compensate households unfairly burdened by the passed on costs.

Many of the large companies have admitted that they will continue to emit carbon at the same levels because the cost of reducing emissions is greater than the tax. They will simply pass the cost of the tax on to their customers.

If there was technology that reduced their energy consumption and emissions, a technology that cost less than the savings that resulted from these reductions, you would imagine that the companies would embrace it. You would also imagine that if a shipping company were presented with such a technology they would embrace it. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case.

Automobile manufacturers are required by law to install emission reduction technology in the combustion and exhaust system of cars. Why not have the maritime regulators apply similar emission reduction logic to shipping?

Chris Geater,
9th November 2011 23:25 GMT

Comments on this Blog
Heinz Otto - Windships
15th November 2011
HI Chris Geater,
many thanks for your remarks to:
COP 17: Will a levy on bunkers do the trick? I repeat it as loud as I can, and ich wrote today this to the ICS:
Dear Mr. Hincliffe (and in copy "vips" to this matter of climate protection in Germany),
with respect to your work for the whole shipping branche in the ICS (International Chamber of Shipping), I have to say:

It is not satisfying at all, this less amount of GHG-emission reducing goals, you suggest in the added File of the ICS.
( )
The wind was thousends of years the power of your business. And you really do not know the latest developments in this field? incredible !
I will do everything I can , that the IMO shall lost their responsibility of self controll of GHG minimizing.
This long time system of controling, metering and certificate installation is not able, to get results as quick as possible.
Check for your own the , and there the report 116.
If this will nor reach your mind, then it seems, it will go on with the green washing of the world merchant fleet, instead of use the wind again for propulsion of -at first- bulker-ships.
I wish you succes in the meaning of the letter of mine.
Heinz Otto
Robert Walsh - Walsh Ship Consultancy
11th April 2012
I see that the choir continues to sing to itself. Let's see in 2008 bunkers were $500 a ton and now in 2012 they are $700 a ton. The increased cost of bunkers continues to be passed along within the multi-tiered contractual system of shipping. So what new technology has been implemented beyond speed reduction? A $25 tax certainly will not drive improved efficiency. Rather than penalties, like taxes, maybe there should be positive incentives for reducing GHG for increased efficiencies. Creating such market-based incentives should prove to be challenging for our global industry.

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