According to the UK Chamber of Shipping sea-based transport earns the UK’s economy more than £1M an hour of every day.

But it also emits more than 1.1bn tonnes of carbon each year, which is in excess of the entire emissions of Germany and Japan combined, according to consultants WSP.

The chamber has, today (August 10), launched two reports aimed at ‘leading’ the debate on the two main options.

According to the chamber this is the first time an attempt has been made to set out the practical implications for the shipping industry of rising carbon emissions.

The two methods proposed are a cap and trade scheme and a CO2 levy – both of which are discussed at length in two separate reports.

British Chamber of Shipping director general, Mark Brownrigg, said: “This is a complex international debate for which we need active participation from the shipping industry and governments to find a genuine solution.

“It is crucial we do not discount either of the main proposed economic mechanisms for encouraging carbon reductions.

“The debate lies ahead on which option will provide greater certainty of outcome, ease of application, and without damaging the growth of the industry and world trade. That debate must be based on practical considerations rather than conjecture.”

Leading low carbon shipping business B9Shipping director, Diane Gilpin, welcomed the reports.

She said: “B9 Shipping are pleased the British Chamber of Shipping is engaging in discussions about managing the ever increasing – and particularly noxious – carbon emissions from the shipping sector.

“Whilst shipping, like aviation, is a complex international system this should not inhibit the sector from taking action on climate change.

“B9 ships are being developed for forward thinking shippers that recognise whichever way the on-going discussions within shipping go the continued dependency of the sector on fossil fuels will cost shippers, and so consumers, more.

“Moving to clean fuels as soon as possible makes good commercial sense, B9 ships are in development and will be operational within 24 months.”

Consultant WSP Environment & Energy director, David Symons, added: “If no action is taken carbon emissions from shipping are forecast to double by 2050.

“Slowing down is the simplest way to reduce shipping emissions – we could even see the return of the sail.

“Using complete sail ships again is probably unrealistic, but a combination of sail and fuel could help reduce emissions by up to 35%, making a serious dent on global carbon emissions.”

Luke Walsh

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