Shipping needs global emissions target
THE only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping is through binding international agreements, regardless of flag, says Denmark’s Minister for Economic and Business Affairs, Lene Espersen. Speaking at the opening session of the International Association of Maritime Economists annual conference in Copenhagen on Wednesday, Ms Espersen said: “We have to be realistic, shipping is mobile. Our proposal is for a global emissions target for the maritime sector.” Denmark is hosting the international climate change conference in December and is expected to play a leading role in promoting a new post-Kyoto regime to include the maritime sector. The country has also proposed setting up an international fund using revenue from climate change levies to promote climate change initiatives. But she acknowledged that “detailed regulations should be developed by the IMO [International Maritime Organization]”. Ms Espersen told the assembly of academic, government and industry representatives that although shipping was a relatively environmentally friendly industry, it would have to commit more to protect the climate. She said that shipping needed to develop new and more efficient designs and propulsion systems. While Danish shipowners had shown that optimising ship operations could save up to 10% in fuel consumption, logistics was also important and co-operation and collaboration were needed to achieve the best use of resources. “To succeed we need close co-operation between shipowners and other maritime industry institutions,” she said. Ms Espersen said that together with climate change, the most important challenges facing the maritime industry were the economic crisis and human resources. Speaking on the global economic crisis and its effect on international trade, she said: “Open and non-discriminatory access to markets must be maintained and we must avoid a reversion to protectionism.” She also warned shipowners and operators to avoid the temptation to cut costs and standards, stressing the importance of maintaining investment in human resources. “There is a major challenge to maintain quality shipping.” Ms Espersen said embracing the corporate social responsibility concept could create competitive advantage for companies. “I am convinced that those who invest will come out the crisis as winners”.
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