The shipping industry would be a major contributor to a landmark climate change fund being negotiated by the world’s governments, to fund developing nations’ efforts to reduce their carbon footprints and overcome the challenges of climate change, it has emerged.

A draft negotiation document which surfaced during the United Nations climate change talks in Durban, South Africa, suggests that the maritime industry would be required to contribute towards a ‘Green Climate Fund’, by way of a levy, also aimed at encouraging industry greenhouse gas emission reductions.
An substantial annual funding requirement has been earmarked to help developing nations fight climate change by 2020, and the draft proposals, while in their infancy, present the first solid indication that the private sector would foot some of the bill.

It is anticipated that such a levy would be administered by the UN’s International Maritime Organization, although details on what level carbon pricing would be set have yet to be agreed. With maritime industry carbon commitments absent from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the Durban talks have focused heavily on the maritime industry’s contribution to future climate change efforts.

In a statement prior to the Climate Change Conference, the International Chamber of Shipping (which represents over 80% of the world merchant fleet), said of the proposed Green Climate Fund, that “the industry [could] probably support this in principle as long as the details are agreed at the IMO, with the industry’s clear preference for a Market-Based Mechanism being a compensation fund linked to the fuel consumption of ships, rather than an emissions trading scheme”. The ICC also called for the levy to apply to “all internationally trading ships, in a manner which respects the principles of the UN climate convention”.

The shipping industry is estimated to produce 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions annually.