Sunday, 6 December 2009

Welcome to the COP15 bunkers blog

Over the next two weeks we will try and keep you up to date with developments in the negotiations that relate to greenhouse gas emissions from fuel burnt by international shipping and aviation ("bunkers" for short).

Together these sectors emit close to 1.5 bn tonnes of CO2, more than the sixth largest national GHG emitter, and emissions are projected to double or triple by 2050. Difficulties with apportioning responsibility for these emissions to individual countries resulted in them being excluded from the agreement reached in Kyoto in 1997. Developed countries were left with the responsibility for developing measures via the International Maritime Organisation and International Civil Aviation Authority but twelve years later there isn't a single legally binding measure in place.

To overcome the problem of allocating emissions environmental NGOs are advocating a global sectoral approach for both shipping and aviation, but this creates it's own problems in respect of the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, with developing countries reluctant to agree to anything that applies emission reduction targets to their national shipping and aviation industries. One way around this problem may be to capitalise on the potential of both industries to raise revenues for mitigation and adaptation in develop ling countries. If market-based instruments can be used successfully to that end then bunker finance could be the key not just to getting agreement on a sectoral approach for these awkward emissions, but also generating a substantial new flow of climate finance that might help broker a wider deal in Copenhagen.

Confused? Then take a look at our FAQs document.

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