The Shipping Sector and GHG Emissions: The Initial Strategy for a Zero-Carbon Pathway

NUS Law Working Paper No. 2020/013

NUS Asia-Pacific Centre for Environment Law Working Paper 20/01

24 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020

See all articles by Beatriz Garcia

Beatriz Garcia

Western Sydney University

Anita Foerster

Monash University

Jolene Lin

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 28, 2020

Abstract

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced the first sector-wide emission reduction target for international shipping: to limit emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. The roadmap to achieve this goal is the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, which proposes implementation measures for the short-term (2018-2023), mid-term (2023-2030) and long-term (beyond 2030). This article examines one of each type of candidate measures, notably National Action Plans, market-based mechanisms and alternative fuels, all of which are central to the implementation of the Initial Strategy due to their significant practical impact. We argue that National Action Plans, although not a suitable tool to tackle ‘international’ shipping emissions, can play a key role in mobilizing capacity and resources, and directing national action. In relation to market-based mechanisms, we find that a carbon tax might be a more efficient way to incentivize emissions reductions, when compared to emissions trading. Yet ultimately, the sector’s decarbonization can only be truly achieved with zero-carbon fuels that are safe for human health and the environment. We explore the considerable barriers to the development and use of these fuels and consider how leading shipping companies and financial sector are beginning to shift capital and resources to this challenge, spurred by the new IMO targets and understandings of climate-related financial risks and opportunities.

Keywords: international shipping, GHG emissions, national action plans, market-based mechanisms, alternative fuels

Suggested Citation

Garcia, Beatriz and Foerster, Anita and Lin, Jolene, The Shipping Sector and GHG Emissions: The Initial Strategy for a Zero-Carbon Pathway (April 28, 2020). NUS Law Working Paper No. 2020/013, NUS Asia-Pacific Centre for Environment Law Working Paper 20/01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3587166 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3587166

Beatriz Garcia

Western Sydney University ( email )

Locked Bag 1797
Penrith, NSW 2751
Australia

Anita Foerster

Monash University ( email )

Caulfield Campus
Sir John Monash Drive
Caulfield East, Victoria 3084
Australia

Jolene Lin (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

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