Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ocean Freight And Container Shipping Must Lead Anti Pollution Fight

Cancun Climate Change Conference Cops Out
Shipping News Feature

MEXICO – At the start of the COP16 United Nations Climate Change conference which opened yesterday in Cancun the head of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon made a passionate plea for unity in the fight to preserve the planet and criticised the efforts of governments thus far. In a speech indicating that he had little faith that satisfactory and effective resolutions would be found, the Secretary General called upon industrial leaders, including those in the freight and logistics sector, to produce workable solutions to the problems.

COP16 is attended by 194 nations who agreed to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the same bunch who failed to come up with any truly globally effective measures when they discussed the Kyoto Protocol, a process which has dragged on for thirteen years during which the two largest contributors to global pollution failed miserably to agree to any binding targets.

Now it seems Mr Ban has realised that the posing and infighting which is a feature of international politics is probably going to result in too little, too late if left to the authorities. He told the conference:

"I am deeply concerned that our efforts so far have been insufficient. Nature will not wait while we negotiate. Science warns that the window of opportunity to prevent uncontrolled climate change will soon close."

Shipping often comes under fire from environmental lobbyists and is doubtless a high volume producer of pollution, despite the numerous attempts by ocean freight carriers to reduce their and their customers, level of pollutants. Now however owners of the world’s largest container shipping line with over 2 million TEU capacity, and environmental award winners, AP Moller Maersk, has reacted immediately to Mr Ban’s plea saying they want to encourage political leaders to create standards and clarity so customers and consumers in the future, ultimately, can follow the carbon foot print of the products they buy.

Maersk, representing the global transportation industry, has been invited to present its views on how best to make the world less carbon-dependent, yet still with room for trade and growth, wealth and development.

Having heard the Secretary General’s comments John Kornerup Bang, lead climate advisor for the A P Moller Maersk Group said:

“To tap into shipping’s low carbon potential, COP16 should create carbon transparency and embrace the concept of carbon distance. The actual distance travelled by a product is not important. What’s important is the CO2 emissions resulting from the transport and the societal value of the service provided. That is the essence of carbon distance.

“Businesses are stepping in to fill the political void. This initiative is a testament to the fact that the UN sees businesses as solution providers. It’s good to see that shipping is seen as part of the solution.” Reacting to Maersk’s involvement Lila Karbassi from UN Global Compact’s Environment Leader programme commented:

“Innovation in sustainable shipping will be critical to solve the climate crisis. It is encouraging to see Maersk's leadership in developing transportation solutions that will bring about the transition to a low-carbon economy."

UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative designed for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.