The UK Labour party has taken Boris Johnson’s Conservative government to task over its agreement to allow the British maritime sector to emit more CO2.
The Independent Newspaper reported on Sunday that Labour is urging the government to ”take responsibility” for UK marine emissions. Labour believes the UK must include maritime carbon emissions in current climate targets.
Government advisors have repeatedly counselled the Conservative administration to include sea traffic in targets, as it contributes approximately three per cent of the UK’s CO2 emissions. However, ministers have agreed to allow the sector to increase its carbon footprint until 2030, a move that is at odds with the UK’s stated objective of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Labour’s shadow minister for green transport, Kerry McCarthy, told the Independent:
“It’s clear from what we saw at the International Maritime Organisation last week, that action on shipping emissions is stalling at a global level. The Government now has to show both domestic and international leadership by taking responsibility for our share of emissions from international shipping. With the climate emergency worsening and with the UK set to host the COP26 climate summit next year, progress from the Government on meeting net zero-emissions has never been more important.”
The Government is advised by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The CCC has already called for emissions to be included in net-reduction targets and will likely urge the government again on 9th December when it publishes further advisories.
The Department of Transport has issued the following statement in response to Labour’s call:
”The UK is going further than ever to tackle shipping emissions, with over £20m being invested into greener maritime, and as we look towards COP 26, we will turbocharge our efforts to combat the threat of climate change. The measures agreed at the recent Maritime Environment Protection Committee, represent the first step of many under the initial International Maritime Organisation (IMO) strategy to decarbonise international shipping. The Government will be working closely with other member states and the IMO over the coming months to develop robust medium- and long-term measures.”
Efforts to decarbonise the industry will be dependent upon new green technologies. The IMO are projected to allow a net emission increase of 14 percent one percent less than if no caps were implemented.