Ship industry proposes $5B research fund to help cut emissions

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    LONDON- Shipping associations have proposed creating a research fund with $5 billion raised by the industry to develop technology to help the sector meet U.N. targets on cutting emissions.

    The global shipping fleet, which accounts for 2.2 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, is under pressure to reduce those emissions and other pollution. About 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea.

    International shipping associations called on Wednesday for a mandatory contribution of $2 per ton on fuel used by ships to raise money for a research fund to help develop cleaner technology for the industry.

    U.N. shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), aims to cut the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050, a target that will require the swift development of zero or low emission fuels and new ship designs using cleaner technology.

    Simon Bennett, deputy secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, one of the industry bodies backing the fund, said a $2 per ton fuel contribution would raise about $5 billion over 10 years, based on fuel consumption by the world’s fleet of about 250 million tons a year.

    “We can’t exaggerate the pressure we are under if we are going to meet the IMO 2050 targets. We really have very little time,” Bennett told Reuters. “Ship owners are increasingly realizing that we have to really get on with this now.”

    The fund, if it receives the backing of IMO member states, could be in place by 2023, officials involved said.

    The IMO said the proposal would be discussed by the organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee at its next meeting at the end of March.

    “Research and development will be crucial, as the targets agreed in the IMO initial strategy will not be met using fossil fuels,” an IMO spokesperson said. – Reuters

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