Climate change is still a very relevant topic
18th May 2012 17:51 GMT

Do we have a bit of breathing space after the excitement of the outcome of Durban or would the time be better spent reviewing the options that have opened up?

What will the ongoing negotiations at UNFCCC tell us about the road ahead and what the future holds for shipping?

After COP 17 I thought there had been a shift from the ‘clear cut’ difference between developed countries and developing countries to a less polarised negotiating approach; I also stated that we could no longer assume that the historical status quo, when it comes to greenhouse gas negotiations at MEPC and at UN Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC), will remain as we move into the negotiations associated with the ‘Durban Platform on Enhanced Action’.

Post Durban, the first opportunity to begin to see if there was an emerging shift in approach at an international level was at MEPC in March. At MEPC, as anticipated, we saw the pendulum swing back to an increased use of CBDR (common but differentiated responsibility and capability) language – partly due to sensitivities associated with the adoption of the MARPOL Annex VI Regulation on EEDI and SEEMP at the last MEPC.

The next opportunity to evaluate what the outcome of Durban might mean is the meeting next week of the UNFCCC negotiators in Bonn. On the basis of what we saw during IMO MEPC in March I believe it will be quite a challenging meeting.

The views on what was actually agreed in Durban appear to be somewhat different depending on who you talk to. The EU commitment to a second period of Kyoto Protocol means that the term CBDR will remain a major part of the discussions. Submissions to the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform indicate a wish from developing countries to maintain the language of the Convention related to CBDR.

From a shipping perspective the key issue at UNFCCC has to be how the negotiators will bridge the funding issues between the developed world’s view that carbon markets would be a good approach and the developing world’s view that the developed world should pay (that could be interpreted as we the tax payers should pay directly). With the economic challenges in Europe and elsewhere it is possible that one way of raising some of the money to meet the commitment of $100Billion annually by 2020 is to consider raising funds from shipping, ‘invisibly’ to the public. I am guessing the negotiators are asking themselves if the public would even notice the increase costs in imported goods given the projection of the very small size of increase on a per goods basis. I suspect the consumer would not even notice.

A number of the market based measures under discussion at IMO could be used to raise the funds needed.

The critical issue is avoiding impacting developing countries. The High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing suggested a process of refunding developing countries with the money raised unintentionally from them as part of a measure in their report. I was interested to note that at MEPC the Chinese delegation public supported the idea embedded in the ‘rebate mechanism’ proposal as a means of ensuring “no net impact on developing countries”.

Shipping is not just being considered as part of the funding discussion but also as part of the continued discussion in AWG-LCA (Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action). My suspicion is that the Ad Hoc Working Group related to the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action could well look at shipping when it has navigated the issues of CBDR.

In terms of progress at the UNFCCC meeting, I am not optimistic we will see any, as I think this will be a stock taking meeting and an opportunity for negotiators and NGO to better understand what the agreement in Durban actually means.

To follow the discussion, keep an eye on the IISD website.

The negotiations at UNFCCC in the next two weeks will cover: the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA); the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA); the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP); and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

Anne-Marie Warris,
18th May 2012 17:51 GMT

Comments on this Blog
Heinz Otto
3rd July 2012
Hi, Anne Marie Warris,
you said and I say and we say:"Climate change is still a very relevant topic" , but no one of the responsible ship owners is working on this matter seriously , they are only on the way, to save money with super slow steaming and sell this a the green transport at high seas. And all the discussions regarding the MARPOL Annex VI Regulation on EEDI and SEEMP at the last MEPC. are only wasting of time -I feel it so.
Because the wind as the first "money maker" for the ship owners last century was forgotten and replaced by oil. This was done at first from ship owners in the "first world" not in Jamaica or Srilanka. And so , I think, we have to start the change at first to protect the climate, do not waiting of results of negotiations whereever.
Back to the wind, use modern sailing systems, like the Dynarigg, presented to the shipping world in the 60-ies of last century.
Check it please at .
Best regards, Heinz Otto
Heinz Otto
12th September 2012
Hi Sam,
it is not very clear, what you mean with "FRAUD" regarding the maritime world. Climate change is not a lie, Peakoil is not a lie, GHG from ships became a huge problem, we face it each day here on Petromedia - News.Shipowners made there money at first with sailing ships.after that with coal and oil fired ships; now they have the responsibility to use the wind again with modern sailing systems, as Wilhelm prölss has developed 50 years ago from now, see it at:
Regards - , Heinz Otto

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