China has called on poorer nations to oppose a tax on shipping emissions, and set stronger targets to decarbonise one of the most polluting industries in the world. It criticised wealthy countries for setting “unrealistic goals” with “significant” costs.
Four people who were present at IMO meetings said that Beijing sent a “diplomatic message” to developing countries as they prepared to attend a crucial meeting of the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) in July. This lobbying effort follows days after France rallied a group of 22 allies to support a shipping emission levy.
China warned “an overly aggressive emission reduction target would seriously impede sustainable development of international transportation, increase significantly the cost of supply chain and adversely hinder the recovery of global economy”.
The statement continued: “Developed nations are pressuring the IMO into unrealistic visions and ambitions. They are advocating a flat [levy] that will lead to an increase in the cost of maritime transport.
According to the OECD, China’s efforts to decarbonise a sector fuel-intensive that accounts for 90 per cent or more of global trade have heightened concerns about a lack progress.
The IMO will commit to doubling the annual shipping emissions by 2050 from 2008 levels. This ambition has been criticized by environmentalists as being too weak. Participants in the IMO talks this week claimed that China helped bring countries together in negotiations behind closed doors, which had been deeply divided by developed and developing states.
According to two sources close to the discussion, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa also oppose a tax on the emissions of shipping companies, as they believe it would raise the price of exports to their major commodities markets.
The poorer countries do not all agree. Marshall Islands, which face rising sea levels due to climate change, has called for $100 per tonne of emissions. Albon Ishoda expressed concern that “polarisation” had become unhelpful, with some private discussions failing to live up to national commitments regarding decarbonisation.
He said it was ironic how some developing countries complained about a shipping emission levy increasing their financial burden, while simultaneously calling for the money generated from this measure to not be invested outside of the shipping industry.
China, according to the note, called for all revenues generated from IMO regulations to go “in-sector” and argued that a wider use of this money would “transfer climate change funding responsibility from developed countries into developing countries”. . . International shipping”.
It opposes setting 2050 for the year of net zero emissions. Instead, it supports a more encompassing goal: “net zero GHG emission from international shipping by mid-century”. The report said that a shipping emission levy is “a disguised method by developed countries to increase their own competitiveness on the market”.
President Xi Jinping promised that China’s carbon dioxide net emissions would be reduced to zero by 2060. Beijing’s State Council Information Office failed to respond to questions sent via email on Saturday.
The note is a reflection of Premier Li Qiang’s remarks at the World Economic Forum last week, when he said: “It would be unfair to hold developing countries accountable for developed country standards.” The developed countries should take on more responsibility in addressing the climate crisis.
At a Summit held in Paris the same week France and other wealthy nations called on the IMO for it to set goals that would align the shipping industry with the international ambitions of limiting global warming to 1,5C above preindustrial levels. The EU has already planned to introduce a financial price on shipping pollution through its emissions trading scheme.
The World Bank, which lends money to developing nations, countered China’s warnings last week about the potential effects of such measures. In a blog, it argued that allowing broader use of revenues from an emission levy will support poorer nations who have limited opportunities to invest directly in the shipping industry.