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Shipping emissions must be tackled on global scale, warns FTA

FTA has welcomed proposals to incorporate the UK’s share of emissions from international shipping into the Climate Change Act, but has warned that maritime emissions reductions should be tackled at a global level through the International Maritime Organisation, rather then nationally or a regional level otherwise the UK’s competitiveness could be damaged.

Chris Welsh, FTA’s General Manager of Global and European Policy, said:
"We support in principle the inclusion of shipping emissions into the Climate Change Act. But shipping is a global industry and we must avoid taking on the burden of reducing emissions alone or else we will be put on an uneven footing with the rest of the world. This would be bad news for the UK economy and could ultimately mean that less environmentally efficient countries take business away from the UK, thereby making emission levels worse.

"Clearly, the UK government should play a larger role in encouraging other governments around the world to support an international agreement to cut emissions through the IMO."

While there is a need to reduce or at least stabilise CO2 and greenhouse gas levels to ensure temperatures don’t rise further and cause dangerous climate change, it should be remembered that shipping is a comparatively energy efficient way of moving lots of goods very long distances – carrying around 80 per cent of all world trade in volume, it makes up just 2.7 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Welsh concluded:
"Paradoxically, it is precisely shipping’s green credentials that will attract more companies to move goods by sea and increase its contribution to reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. We need to ensure that the approach taken to reduce shipping emissions is done at a global level rather than simply trying to solve the problem by introducing emission reductions piecemeal and region-by-region. Additionally, we must have a rigorous and robust method of calculating and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from freight, so that we can track the progress the industry is making."

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