Shipping not doing enough to curb CO2: UK lawmakers

LONDON (Reuters) - The United Nations’ shipping agency has not done enough to address carbon emissions from shipping, a panel of British lawmakers said on Monday.

The shipping industry accounts for about 3 percent of global CO2 emissions and there has been growing pressure on the sector to lower the amount it produces.

Shipping and aviation are the only industry sectors not regulated under the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for greenhouse gas emissions by rich countries from 2008-12.

The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee urged the British government in a report to show more leadership on climate change issues within the U.N.’s International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“We deplore the prevarication that has prevented global agreement on how to reduce emissions from international shipping,” committee chairman Tim Yeo said.

“The shipping industry accepts the seriousness of climate change but has taken little or no action to cut its own emissions in absolute terms.”

An IMO spokeswoman said its marine environment protection committee will meet in July to discuss greenhouse gas emissions from ships and would allow member states to address concerns.

The parliamentary committee said among its recommendations were that the government should work harder to secure the inclusion of international emissions from shipping within the European Union’s climate change reduction targets.

“However, it should not wait for agreement at an EU or international level before taking action,” it said.

A transport ministry spokesman said the government was committed to reducing the impact of transport on the environment.

“Emissions from shipping is a key part of this,” he said. adding that the government would be pressing for international shipping emissions to be included in a new climate change deal in December at a summit in Copenhagen.

The UK Chamber of Shipping said given the complexities of tackling climate change, the industry could not “reasonably be expected to provide answers on its own.”

“The industry is actively considering mechanisms to achieve global reductions,” it said in a statement.

The chamber said shipping should not be “shoe-horned” into regional emissions schemes.

“We believe that international shipping emissions have to be treated as a separate entity -- like a country. This will mean assessing all emissions outside the context of individual countries and addressing them on a global basis through IMO.”