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UNCTAD Report Discusses Adaptation and Mitigation Challenges for Maritime Transport

Review of Maritime Transport 201123 November 2011: The 2011 Review of Maritime Transport, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlights challenges of adapting maritime transport to the impacts of climate change, primarily sea-level rise, and provides an update on the development of measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from maritime transport.

A chapter on developments in sea-borne trade underlines the need for improved understanding of the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise and extreme weather events on maritime infrastructure, in particular on ports. It calls for the development of effective adaptation responses in developed and developing countries, including rethinking freight transport networks and facilities, and integrating climate change in investment and planning decisions, as well as in broader transport design and development plans.

A chapter on legal issues and regulatory developments includes an update on reduction of GHG emissions from international shipping, focusing on energy efficiency measures, matters relating to UNFCCC negotiations, and market-based mechanisms. On energy efficiency measures, the report discusses the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and related issues, including: speed reductions; safety considerations and the use of correction factors in relation to EEDI; ships trading to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS); capacity building; and carbon dioxide abatement technologies.

The section on UNFCCC matters outlines three questions that need further consideration: whether a reduction target should be set for shipping emissions and whether it should be articulated through UNFCCC; how revenues from market-based mechanisms should be distributed and used; and how to reconcile the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities with the IMO's non-discriminatory approach.

The section on market-based mechanisms notes that deliberations are ongoing and controversy appears to be increasing, with diverging views among IMO member States on whether there is a need for market-based measures at all and which, if any, of the proposals under consideration are most suitable. [Publication: 2011 Review of Maritime Transport] [UNCTAD Press Release]