Aviation and Shipping: The Elephants in the Room

Annegret Zimmermann

With high emissions, enormous growth rates and a lack of binding reduction targets, the bunkers threaten to undermine global efforts to mitigate climate change, writes Annegret Zimmermann. It is therefore more urgent than ever to address aviation and shipping at the highest level of climate politics. The climate negotiations in Paris have taken minor steps in this direction, but more could have been expected. If the ambition of these sectors continues to fall behind efforts in other sectors and if action to combat climate change is further postponed, their shares in global CO2 emissions may rise substantially to 22 percent for international aviation and 17 percent for maritime transport by 2050, or almost 40 percent of global CO2 emissions if both sectors are considered together. This is one of the results of a recent study commissioned by the European Parliament on “Emission Reduction Targets for International Aviation and Shipping”. While the European Union favours binding reduction targets, other parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) such as Saudi-Arabia, the G77+China and Singapore rather have bunker emissions handled by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

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