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Global shipping levy backed by 55 climate-vulnerable countries

A cargo ship at a port

54 countries from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific called at the COP26 climate summit for establishing a global greenhouse gas levy on international shipping. Now they must also support this ambition at the UN’s shipping agency, International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The countries endorsed a shipping levy as part of the CVF Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration launched at the COP26 climate summit on 2 November, which urges the rest of the world to deliver on the Climate Emergency Pact and accelerate action to keep the 1.5 degree temperature goal within reach.

Currently the only concrete, ambitious market-based measure for reducing global shipping emissions equitably on the IMO’s table is the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands proposal for a $100 carbon tax for shipping. This proposal will be discussed at the IMO’s 77th Environmental Protection Committee Meeting (MEPC 77) on 22-26 November. All 174 IMO member states are invited to the meeting, including the 54 signatories of the Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration.

If adopted at the IMO, the $100 levy, if applied to shipping’s 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions a year, would raise around $90 billion a year. A half of this revenue would be allocated to developing and climate-vulnerable countries for climate adaptation, and the second half would be invested in upgrading shipping to cleaner, zero-carbon fuels and propulsion.

Decarbonising shipping is crucial as the sector is predicted to emit up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, if no action is taken. According to the UN’s IPCC report, limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require reaching net zero emissions by 2050 the latest.

Climate vulnerable countries have shown the COP26 the level of ambition needed by the world to keep the 1.5C temperature goal in reach. It is therefore essential that they come to the IMO MEPC 77 meeting in November and support concrete policies that will drive investments into developing countries and help decarbonise shipping.

The Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration signatories are:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, the Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Senegal, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen.