Time to call a limit on transport carbon

Neither aviation nor shipping fit comfortably into a framework designed to tackle greenhouse gas emissions on a state-by state basis. The Kyoto Protocol omitted them from the inventory that Annex 1 countries - the developed nations- were required to consider and report to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). If the shipping sector was a nation, it would rank fifth in the league of Annex 1 greenhouse gas emitters, ahead of Australia but behind the US, Russia, Japan and Germany. Aviation, with slightly lower emissions, would rank seventh, behind Canada but ahead of the UK. Combined, these sectors' emissions would come third with over 1,540 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. Seaborne trade has increased by 37% and aviation traffic has increased by 39% in the six years to 2007. Shipping emissions come from slow, relatively energy-efficient transport of large volumes of goods. Aviation transports much smaller volumes of passengers and freight, but more quickly and much more energy intensively. Many organisations favour a sectoral agreement on emissions rather than a country-based agreement as it provides a single market free from distortions, but developing countries consider that the Annex 1 countries should take a more responsibility for the emissions and do not trust them to use any revenues raised for climate mitigation and adaptation schemes in developing countries. WWF has attempted to broker a deal for both sectors and is suggesting that global or near-global carbon trading schemes will generate revenues for mitigation and adaptation projects under the UNFCCC. To soften the impact of a global cap-and-trade system on developing countries, WWF is suggesting a series of exemptions. Flights running only once or twice a week and trade via smaller ships or to small island states might be exempt from emissions trading. Additional emissions from aircraft are discussed.

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  • Publication Date: 2009-11


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01147126
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Dec 24 2009 8:45AM