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Owners in plea for international climate compensation fund

GERMAN shipowners’ association VDR has made a plea for an international climate compensation fund financed by bunker levies. The association opposes the British Chamber of Shipping, which is promoting an emissions trading scheme. “A trading scheme could lead to competitive disadvantages for European owners,” VDR managing director Uta Ordemann told Lloyd’s List. Germany in particular would be affected, as German owners control the world’s third largest fleet. “It is up to the IMO to find a global solution for shipping,” Ms Ordemann said. “We acknowledge the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” According to a study by German bank Hypovereinsbank (HVB), shipping is responsible for 1.2bn tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. That is almost as much as countries like India and Japan emit, the bank said. This figure could rise to 1.6bn tonnes in the next five years if all the vessels on order are delivered and find employment. Shipping and aviation are excluded from the Kyoto protocol. Ms Ordemann said that the European Commission had already announced that shipping would be included in the European emissions trading scheme if the IMO does not come up with a solution for the industry. Ms Ordemann said that the chances for an international emissions trading scheme were small, as some countries had clearly signalled the rejection of the plan, particularly those countries that had not committed themselves to the Kyoto protocol, such as India, China and Brazil. “We want to prevent shipping being included in a European emissions trading scheme,” Ms Ordemann said. She added that this could bring negative results for European flag states as owners might change register, flag out ships or move their companies. “Shipowners are flexible and they could easily move their businesses,” Ms Ordemann said. The scheme that VDR is promoting originates in a proposal from Denmark and is based on a levy on marine fuel. The levy would be passed on to an international climate compensation fund. The fund would be set up at the level of IMO and fed by the bunker suppliers. It would be necessary to include all bunker suppliers in the scheme. The fund should be used for CO2 reducing projects and initiatives in countries that have not committed themselves to the Kyoto process. VDR hopes this could lead these countries to join a global scheme. VDR promotes a system with variable levies depending on bunker prices. If bunker prices are high, the levy should be reduced. In times of low oil and bunker prices the the amount has to be higher to offer an incentive for reducing fuel consumption, Ms Ordemann said. “High bunker prices themselves are a motivation to reduce consumption,” she said.

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