EU eyes airlines and shipping for climate funding

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Shipping and airlines could be tapped for money to help poor nations tackle and adapt to climate change, according to draft proposals to be presented to European finance ministers on Tuesday.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the two sectors are expected to be addressed at a United Nations meeting in Copenhagen in December to find a new global deal on fighting climate change.

The key issue in Copenhagen will be finding the finance needed to persuade developing nations to cut their carbon dioxide emissions and to adapt to a problem they say has been caused by rich, industrialized nations.

Such funding could help develop drought-resistant crops or new water sources as rising temperatures deplete the glaciers on which millions depend for summer meltwater.

EU finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg on June 9 have been tasked with identifying possible finance sources for poor countries that will help secure a global deal.

“Financing could be complemented by funding from a global instrument addressing international aviation and maritime transport,” said a document prepared for the meeting and seen by Reuters on Thursday.


But it also made clear that poor nations would be expected to deliver concrete proof of emissions cuts in return for the cash.

“The allocation of support should move toward a performance-based system, strongly incentivising the promotion of actions which maximize climate value for climate money,” said the draft, which could be amended.

It raised the possibility that poor nations would have to compete for the money in a competitive tender, which would select the most effective carbon-cutting proposals.

The decision to target shipping at Copenhagen follows years of indecision on how to tackle an opaque industry, trading around the world and often based in offshore jurisdictions with loose governance and regulation.

It also follows years of inaction by shipping and aviation’s governing bodies, the U.N.-backed International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

But the EU is determined to act after watching shipping emissions grow by over 60 percent in the last 15 years, while airline emissions doubled.

It has warned that it is ready to curb emissions for the two sectors unilaterally, unless a deal is reached at Copenhagen.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, writing by Pete Harrison, editing by Dale Hudson