UN chief urges airlines and shipping lines to do more to reduce emissions | Greenhouse gas emissions
Airlines and shipping have failed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and must make new commitments on the climate crisis in the run-up to Cop26, said the UN Secretary General.
António Guterres said current efforts were insufficient and would lead to catastrophic global warming.
He told the Global Sustainable Transport conference on Thursday: “Let’s be honest. While [UN] Member States have taken some initial steps through the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization to tackle emissions from shipping and aviation, current commitments are not aligned on the 1.5C objective of the Paris Agreement. In fact, they are more consistent with warming well above 3C. “
World leaders and governments will meet in Glasgow from October 31 for the 15-day Cop26 summit on the climate crisis. Representatives from the aviation and transport sectors will be in attendance, but international transport has largely escaped scrutiny at previous United Nations conferences, as it was excluded from long-standing discussions nearly three decades ago. .
Aviation and maritime transport each account for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and this share is increasing. Both face major technological challenges when it comes to decarbonization, as planes need high-density fuel and ships run on dirty forms of heavy oil.
Guterres is determined that industries are not allowed to evade global greenhouse gas reduction obligations. He called for more urgent action, saying: “The adoption of a new set of more ambitious and credible goals that are truly consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement must be an urgent priority for these people. two organs. [ICAO and IMO] in the months and years to come.
He called for zero emission ships to be commercialized by 2030 and to become the default choice of all companies to achieve zero emissions in the shipping industry by 2050. Airlines must start using sustainable aviation fuels now, he said, to reduce carbon emissions per passenger by 65% by 2050.
Campaigners have long called for reductions in emissions from shipping and aviation. Faïg Abbasov, director of maritime transport at the Transport and Environment think tank, said: “António Guterres is right. International action on shipping and aviation has been pitiful to date. We must stop relying on ineffective IMO and ICAO and demand that States take responsibility for all their emissions.
“This is what they signed in the Paris agreement. Regional bodies like the EU have shown that states have many tools to tackle these emissions at national level, such as fuel mandates and carbon pricing. It’s time to use them.
ICAO has been criticized for its goal of improving energy efficiency by 2% per year and for a carbon offset program known as Corsia (carbon offset and reduction program for international aviation) .
The IMO agreed in 2018 to halve greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. The agency, a branch of the UN, is working to strengthen its commitments by 2023 and could introduce interim measures, including incentives to research alternative fuels and other innovative technologies.
An IMO spokesperson told the Guardian: “IMO adopted the first mandatory efficiency measures for international shipping in 2011 and has continued to work to tackle GHGs. [greenhouse gas] broadcasts while seeking to ensure that no country is left behind on this journey. IMO regulations are not just verbal commitments. These are binding energy efficiency requirements, applied globally on ships operating around the world.
She added: “International maritime transport is a vital sector, supporting global trade. There is no doubt that maritime transport must be sustainable and we must continue to work towards common objectives and together ensure that the environment is stabilized by accelerating the decarbonisation of the maritime sector. “
Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, said: “The shipping industry strongly agrees that IMO member states must push for more emission reductions. strict across the industry. That is why we have presented a roadmap on how shipping can achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a doubling of the current IMO target. “
An ICAO spokesperson said: “The targets [on emissions] represent what 193 interested sovereign countries have collectively agreed to adopt in reducing emissions, and what is particularly relevant to their international legal commitments in air transport. ICAO is established and funded by these same governments to support this decision making with expert advice, but the final decisions on the standards, goals and policies made here are always their collective diplomatic outcome.