Shipowner organisations urge bunker levy to fund R&D into green fuels for shipping.


International shipping contributes about 3% of total global CO2 emissions, about the same as that of Germany. In 2018 the IMO set out its ambitions for eliminating CO2 emissions. Since then concrete proposals have been thin on the ground. Mandatory slow steaming seems dead in the water, with concerns that it would delay introduction of carbon neutral tonnage. To facilitate this a new proposal has been put to the IMO just before Christmas by various international shipowner associations, such as BIMOC and the International Chamber of Shipping. The proposal is to introduce a mandatory levy of US$2 per tonne on bunker fuel purchases to fund a US$5 billion ten year programme to accelerate the R&D effort required to decarbonise the shipping sector and to catalyse the deployment of commercially viable zero-carbon ships by the early 2030s.  The programme could be put in place by 2023 via amendments to the existing IMO Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

In the meantime CO2 emissions from international shipping are likely to increase. The 2018 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gives a remaining global carbon budget of 420 gigatons of CO2 for there to be a 67% chance of stabilising the global temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre industrial levels (p 108 of chapter 2 of SR15). The current rate of CO2 emissions is 40 gigatons per annum. The maths is not hard to do.

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Professor Simon Baughen

Professor Simon Baughen was appointed as Professor of Shipping Law in September 2013 (previously Reader at the University of Bristol Law School). Simon Baughen studied law at Oxford and practised in maritime law for several years before joining academia. His research interests lie mainly in the field of shipping law, but also include the law of trusts and the environmental law implications of the activities of multinational corporations in the developing world. Simon's book on Shipping Law, has run to seven editions (soon to be eight) and is already well-known to academics and students alike as by far the most learned and approachable work on the subject. Furthermore, he is now the author of the very well-established practitioner's work Summerskill on Laytime. He has an extensive list of publications to his name, including International Trade and the Protection of the Environment, and Human Rights and Corporate Wrongs - Closing the Governance Gap. He has also written and taught extensively on commercial law, trusts and environmental law. Simon is a member of the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, a University Research Centre within the School of Law, and he currently teaches at Swansea on the LLM in:Carriage of Goods by Sea, Land and Air; Charterparties Law and Practice; International Corporate Governance.

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