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Paris silence on aviation and shipping casts doubt on who should lead

The absence of any reference to international aviation and shipping emissions in the Paris Agreement casts doubts over who is responsible for reining in their skyrocketing emissions, green NGOs Seas At Risk, Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment have said. While the Agreement endorses a target of 1.5°C, this cannot be achieved unless these two sectors urgently rein in their emissions.

Aviation accounts for about 5% of global warming, and CO2 from shipping is about 3% of the global total. In recent years their emissions have grown twice as fast as the those of the global economy and they could make up 39% of world CO2 emissions in 2050 if left unregulated, according to a scientific study published last month by the European Parliament. If treated as countries, global aviation and shipping would both make the list of top 10 emitters.

Since countries have historically been unable to agree on how to allocate the emissions of these sectors between them, aviation and shipping are not part of the so-called ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ or INDCs. Today’s silence on what the UN agencies IMO and ICAO should do leaves the question of responsibility in limbo.

ICAO and IMO have failed to act to date, rightly earning them a ‘Fossil of the Day’ award at this COP. The next 10 months they have an opportunity to prove the sceptics wrong. ICAO will hold its triennial Assembly in October 2016 and IMO will hold meetings of its Environment Committee in April and October 2016. Failure to agree on serious measures will put the question of who is responsible squarely back on the table.

“The Agreement now leaves it unclear which actors have responsibility to reduce emissions from these sectors. If ICAO/IMO wish to retain a role, they must urgently scale up their ambition. Otherwise states and regional actors will have a right to adopt measures to ensure these sectors contribute to the 1.5°C target.”
Andrew Murphy, Aviation and Shipping Officer, Transport & Environment

“While these sectors have received an opt-out from the text of the Agreement, they must not receive an opt-out from its long-term ambition. We will redouble our efforts to ensure these industries contribute to the 1.5°C target, either through measures at ICAO/IMO or at regional or national level .”
John Maggs, Senior Policy Advisor, Seas At Risk

“The world’s diminishing carbon budget requires immediate action from these sectors. 1.5°C places an obligation on all sectors to act, and aviation and shipping are no exceptions.”
Kat Watts, International Climate Policy Advisor, Carbon Market Watch
Source: Seas At Risk

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