Deal on ship emissions 'blocked'

Blocking countries insist only developed nations are involved in bunker reduction schemes, say eco-groups.

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Updated on 15 Dec 2009 06:32 GMT

A deal on shipping and aviation emissions in the Copenhagen climate agreement is being blocked by China, India, Saudi Arabia and The Bahamas, according to environmental organizations Transport & Environment and Seas at Risk

In a statement, Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based environmental organisation campaigning for sustainable transport, said "The blocking countries in the so-called ‘Bunkers Drafting Group’ at Copenhagen are insisting that only developed countries be involved in bunker reduction schemes. But this is impractical as most ships are registered in developing countries, to take advantage of ‘flags of convenience’ for a variety of tax and legal reasons."

Bill Hemmings of Transport & Environment said: “Some of the developing world’s biggest economies are selfishly blocking a deal that could unlock the overall Copenhagen agreement. Developing countries would gain a substantial source of revenue and rapid growth in aviation and shipping emissions, which puts our ability to tackle climate change at risk, could be curtailed.”

John Maggs of Seas at Risk said: “Without a global deal in Copenhagen, regional schemes are likely to pop up around the world. The EU has said many times that without a global deal, it will include shipping in its emissions trading scheme; it has already agreed to add aviation. International bunker fuels would also be covered under the emissions trading bill currently before the US congress. But money from such schemes will not be channelled to the developing world. Failure to reach a deal at Copenhagen would be a massive missed opportunity for the poorest countries.”

Environmental groups including Seas At Risk are calling for emissions from international aviation and shipping to be cut by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020,