Marshall Islands Seeks to Rein in Emissions

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Shipping industry grows by leaps and bounds as the demand increases.  As large ships sail across the oceans, so are problems of energy efficiency and carbon emission loom large.  According to a report from I.M.O., the UN regulatory body, carbon pollution from shipping accounted for about 2.8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions between 2007 and 2012 and can go up to 50 to 250% if unchecked.

The tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean is well aware of the problems posed by carbon emission to the industry as well as to the Island itself.  It is the third largest flags in the world after Panama and Liberia. So, Tony de Brum, the Nation’s Minister of foreign affairs proposed at a recent meeting of the International Maritime Organization, that the amount of climate-warming gases is to be limited.  It is essential for the survival of the industry as well as his nation because low-lying coral atolls of Marshall Islands could be swamped if sea levels rise. He said, “We cannot address climate change without looking at all the components that are contributing to the problem of emissions.”

The Marshall Islands’ frantic call for greenhouse gas reduction targets for shipping was not approved at the I.M.O.  But it has prompted a debate, according to a report last year by the I.M.O. The European Union in the mean time has approved a regulation, to be enforced from 2018, that makes it mandatory for  large ships docking in its ports to declare on the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The shipping industry resisted the European Union rule, saying that it would infringe on proprietary information about ships and their cargo.

The shipping industry officials claim that their industry is already highly efficient, compared with other forms of transportation, and say satisfactory measures are in place to increase the energy efficiency of ships. The issue will be debated at the major global climate meetings in Paris in December, as well as at climate meetings in Bonn, Germany, that began this week.

At the I.M.O., the Marshall Islands’ proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions received support from many European nations, but the powerful opposition included Brazil, China, India and Russia, according to Mr. Maggs.

 Marshall Islands’ call to rein in emissions needs global co-operation.

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