Tuesday, July 21, 2009

IMO prevaricates over fuel increase

Environmentalists rage at group’s inaction
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE - Despite mounting pressure from environmental groups including the WWF, the International Maritime Organisation has failed to agree on a decision to increase the cost of fuel for commercial vessels.

The problem dates from the time of the Kyoto Protocol when the matter was fudged due to lack of any cohesive policy over world trade. In the Protocol both Aviation and Marine sectors were sidelined for lack of a clear way forward. The IMO was given the task of resolving the situation whilst facing pressure from both the environmental lobby and third world countries. It was mooted at the time of Kyoto that a fuel levy would assist the poorer countries by paying in turn for the damage caused by climate change.

At the meeting this week the IMO, despite agreeing draft measures to increase the efficiency of ships with proposed changes to design and to the management of ships operations, the fuel question was shelved until the next meeting later in the year.

Environmental spokesmen were quick to express their frustration at the lack of progress and commented on the enormous quantities of CO2 produced annually by the shipping industry, giving estimates of 1 billion tonnes and rising. A spokesman for the WWF made mention that there “is not one single policy in place” to safeguard the environment with relevance to the industry.