As nations work together to meet the goals put in place by the Paris Accord, there is one major missing component when it comes to reducing carbon emissions: the shipping industry.
Ships carry the brunt of the world’s trade, moving 80 percent of the all world trade by volume along international shipping lanes.
The shipping industry is only projected to increase and with it, carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has estimated that carbon emissions from shipping could increase 50 to 250 percent in the coming years.
Ship fuel is harmful to the environment and already the shipping industry has a similar carbon footprint to the whole of Germany.
The editors of Bloomberg recently wrote an opinion piece about the problems that the shipping industry needs to address. According to the editors, unless emissions are reduced, shipping could account for 15 percent of the global carbon budget.
When the Paris Accord was first introduced, international shipping carbon emissions were not part of the conversation.
That could change when next week the International Maritime Organization will announce a plan for reducing emissions.
Any plans to reduce emissions could be met with resistance as several countries like Argentina, Brazil, India, Panama and Saudi Arabia are opposed to capping emissions or meeting CO2 targets.
“Despite this resistance, the IMO needs to be ambitious,” said Bloomberg. “Ultimately, the most cost-effective approach would be to put a tax on carbon, and let that guide investment and innovation. But devising and implementing an international carbon-price system won’t be done overnight.”
There are several methods that shipping companies could implement to reduce emissions, but the key is first admitting that shipping emissions need to be taken seriously.
“The main thing next week is to acknowledge that confronting climate change is too urgent a goal for any sector of the global economy to be given a pass,” write the Bloomberg editors.