The National – Wednesday, December 8, 2010
PAPUA New Guinea is spearheading discussions on a plan whereby ships can be charged different fees to dock depending on how much carbon they emit.
The plan was among ideas being discussed this week at the UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, BBC News reported on Monday.
It said the government was seriously considering the plan and was hoping other nations might become involved.
The news service reported that the Carbon War Room, co-founded by Sir Richard Branson, had launched an online tool grading 60,000 commercial vessels according to their emissions.
“Shipping contributes about 1Gt (gigatonne) of carbon dioxide each year, more than the entire
“Currently shipping fuels are exempt from national carbon accounts, which has caused much head-scratching about how their emissions could be curbed.
“The new approach is to give businesses the tool they need to selectively use lower-emitting vessels.
“The Carbon War Room has been advocating the need for business to play a leading role in the fight to reduce carbon emissions,” Sir Richard said.
“This data hub for shipping will help the key players in the industry and their customers make better decisions for their businesses and ultimately, the planet.”
Data for 60,000 ships, including many of the big, long-distance carriers, had been put in to the website using data from international registers and methods developed by the International Maritime Organisation.
PNG’s delegate to the UN climate convention meeting, Kevin Conrad, told BBC News on Monday that the Somare government was considering the idea as part of a bigger package of measures designed to cut carbon through engagement with the private sector.
“Our duty is to find those that are leading the charge in the private sector, and work with them to achieve our climate goals,” Conrad said.
The ships would be rated on an A-G scale according to their efficiency.
The scheme’s labels look very similar to the ratings given to consumer electrical goods such as refrigerators in the EU, which have helped drive up standards.
The Carbon War Room – a non-profit organisation aiming to “harness the power of entrepreneurs” to curb climate change – was hoping that ship owners would voluntarily choose to lodge their emissions data on the website shippingeffiency.org in order to boost their profile.
They calculated, according to BBC News, that global shipping emissions could be cut by about 30% just through increasing efficiency, although much greater gains could materialise in future as designers pursue new, or revisit old, concepts such as sails, kites and solar power.
It reported that ships could be charged different fees to dock depending on how much carbon they emit, according to ideas being discussed on the sidelines of the UN climate summit.