Pacific ministers call for radical shipping CO2 cuts


A coalition of Pacific Island ministers today launched their strongest joint call yet for the global shipping industry to radically cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Ministers from the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati were joined by envoys from Fiji, Vanuatu and Palau urging member states to align the sector’s emissions with a global goal to try and limit warming to 1.5C above pre industrial levels.

That would mean the sector meeting a zero net emissions target by 2035, according to a submission supported by from France, Germany, Belgium and Pacific Nations sent to IMO this week.

The intervention from the Pacific Islands pits them against leading emerging economies of Brazil, Argentina, India and Saudi Arabia, who voiced opposition to a tougher regulatory regime for the shipping sector during negotiations on Wednesday.

Talks are set to run through this week, with two more sets of negotiations planned ahead of a 2018 climate deal for the sector.

Marshall Islands minister for transport and communication Mike Halferty:



“If international shipping was a country, it would be the seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. And unless the sector takes additional action to those already planned, emissions from the sector will grow anywhere from 50% to 250% by 2050. That would be as much as all the greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union.”



Monies Laafai, minister of Communication and Transport for Tuvalu:



“The UN considers that Tuvalu may well be the first nation to suffer from complete loss of landmass due to climate change. Whilst we are threatened by the rising seas, it is the changes this brings to our freshwater sources and supplies that will make our country uninhabitable first… For the survival of my country and our neighbours, I beg that we must all strive collectively for the highest level of ambition possible. “



Natan Teewe, Minister of Justice, Kiribati:



“Earlier this year, the World Meteorological Organisation released its report on the state of the world’s climate in 2016. It is alarming for us as it states that we have already reached global temperatures of 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Even more distressing for us, is the image of Tarawa, our capital, with the accompanying text noting that Kiribati is likely to be uninhabitable as a nation state in 30 – 60 years.

“You can understand therefore why it is so important to us that we all do as much as we can to curb Greenhouse Gas emissions urgently. It is for that reason that Kiribati is here – to make a plea to our fellow IMO Member States this week to take urgent action to reduce the emissions from international shipping and to work towards full decarbonisation of the sector.”



Source: Global Strategic Communications Council

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