GHG Emissions from the International Goods Movement by Ships and the Adaptation Funding Distribution

GHG Emissions from the International Goods Movement by Ships and the Adaptation Funding Distribution

Haifeng Wang (University of Delaware, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-531-5.ch015


The GHG reduction from ships has attracted international attention. As the major transportation mode in international trade, how the reduction cost influences the international trade is becoming a major concern. How to allocate the funds collected from the emission regulation is also in controversy. This chapter summarizes the policy instruments under discussion in the International Maritime Organization and discusses the advantages of market based instruments. Using the Ship, Trade, Traffic and Emission Model, this chapter calculates the impact of ship-based GHG reduction cost on the international trade. The impact is small for most countries, but relatively large for small island countries, creating an equity issue ready to be resolved. The ongoing debate between the common but differentiated responsibility and equal treatment for ships principle is documented. This chapter proposes that all countries need to reduce GHGs but developing countries, especially small island countries, should get more benefits.
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The transportation sector is the second largest source of CO2 emissions, accounting for more than 22% of the world inventory in 2005 (IPCC, 2007). CO2 from ships has been an increasing concern in recent years. It accounted for more than 10% of CO2 emissions from the transportation sector in 2005. Furthermore, data from UNCTAD shows that the sea-based transport accounts for more than 80% of world freight transport in volume (UNCTAD, 2007) and contributes twice as much to carbon emissions as does freight transport by air, even though shipping emissions are 40 times lower than air emissions per ton of freight (Buhaug et al., 2009). Except for the short term disruption due to global economic crisis from 2008 (The Economist 2009), international trade will not cease grow. The IMO projected the CO2 growth in year 2020 and 2050 under six scenarios used by the IPCC (Table 1). Under the business-as-usual scenario, CO2 from ships will be at least double between now and 2050. Because of the trade growth, faster ships, and fewer ship retirements, the emissions will be almost tripled at the worse scenario, showing how urgent it is to control and reduce CO2 from the maritime industry (Buhaug et al., 2009).

Table 1.
CO2 Emission in 2020 and 2050 (Unit: Mmt) (Buhaug et al., 2009)
     A1B: Balanced scenario across energy sources
     A1F: Fossil-intensive scenario
     A1T: A1T: Technologically advanced and predominantly non-fossil scenario
     A2: Heterogeneous world with continuously increasing global population
     B1: Increasing population growth with rapid change in economic structures
     B2: Emphasis on local solution of economic growth and sustainability

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