New greenhouse gas targets for global shipping and aviation

In October, EU environment ministers agreed to put forward a proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft by 10 per cent and from shipping by 20 per cent by 2020 (relative to 2005). The proposal, which has been approved by EU heads of government, is now an EU negotiating mandate for the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

However, EU finance ministers failed to agree that income from financial instruments used to reduce greenhouse gases from aircraft and ships – which could be tens of billions euro a year – should mainly be used for developing countries.

Environmental group T&E gave a cautious welcome to the agreement, but condemned the low levels of ambition and stressed the need for climate finance to be part of the proposals.
“We question why aviation and shipping are still being given special treatment,” said T&E policy officer Bill Hemmings. “The agreed reduction targets will still allow emissions from the two sectors more than one third above 1990 levels, while the EU says it will reduce emissions from other sectors by 20 per cent, and possibly even 30 per cent.”

International aviation and shipping together generate over five per cent of total global carbon dioxide, but the figure is rising quickly. The two sectors are not covered by the emissions reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol, and environmentalists are keen to get an agreement at Copenhagen to avoid the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) being given continued responsibility for emissions reduction.
In spite of twelve years now having passed since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, neither IMO nor ICAO have managed to produce any binding agreements to reduce GHG emissions from the two sectors.

Source: T&E Bulletin, 16 November 2009

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