Japan puts a dollar figure in new carbon tax proposal

Running in the same week as Posidonia next month, the next gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at the London headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) promises to deliver as many heavyweight shipping headlines as the Greek mega shipping show.
Proposals for MEPC delegates to discuss are coming in thick and fast from member states, NGOs and industry associations with shipping’s green future commitments up in the air.

Splash has already reported on a Chinese-led proposal for a so-called International Maritime Sustainability Funding and Reward (IMSF&R) market-based measure, which has been backed by Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Its basic concept is to set up the upper/lower benchmark CO2 emissions level for a ship based on its upper/lower ‘C’ rating boundaries as set out in the CII rating guidelines in conjunction with its capacity and actual distance travelled in a calendar year. Then, to collect funding contributions from ships with actual CO2 emissions above the upper benchmark level and to reward ships with CO2 emissions below the lower benchmark level.

Other measures being considered at the UN’s maritime body include carbon levies, a cap-and-trade system as well as the International Chamber of Shipping’s maritime research fund.

Japan, meanwhile, home to third largest body of shipowners in the world, has put forward its own proposal for a carbon tax to raise more than $55bn a year,

Japan’s proposal calls for the industry to pay $56 per tonne of CO2 from 2025 to 2030, a figure that would then increase every five years with the funds raised going on the development of zero-emission vessels.

Japan is the first major shipping nation to come out with specific dollar numbers for a carbon tax. The Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands had earlier proposed a figure of $100 per CO2 tonne.

Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk, stated in June last year his keenness to get an international carbon tax in place by 2025 of at least $450 per tonne of fuel oil — or approximately $150 per tonne of CO2. Few shipping companies have been so precise in putting numbers to carbon tax proposals.

Following on from an earlier submission led by Kiribati, a proposal sent in last month by Australia, Canada, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Solomon Islands, the United Kingdom and the United States has called for the IMO to revise its 2050 target to ensure shipping is a zero-emissions emitter by 2050, a document that will likely divide member states when they meet up next month.

Splash will be reporting from both MEPC and Posidonia next month.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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