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The International Chamber of Shipping, which represents more than 80% of the world’s merchant fleet, has called on the world’s governments to impose a tax on carbon emissions.

The call has also been backed by organisations Bimco, Cruise Lines International Association, and the World Shipping Council.

The tax would mean extra costs for shipping companies, which would inevitably be passed on to customers, but the urging comes as current plans to reduce carbon emissions, such as the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2050 target, have been criticised by environmental groups for being insufficient and even allowing emissions to grow over several decades.

Container ship ploughs through the sea

The shipping industry is currently responsible for more than 2% of global emissions, making it a bigger polluter than the country of Germany.

The carbon tax, it is argued, would make it a commercial necessity for ship owners to invest in new, greener technology. It would take at least two years to enact.

The downside of the plan is that smaller shipping companies would be the hardest hit, as would the most export-dependent economies.

Deciding on the exact nature of the tax would be a complex process. However, Guy Patten, the International Chamber of Shipping’s secretary-general, has insisted that a global solution is the only one that is going to do the job.

“It’s complex, it needs to be a global solution, and not regional solutions, as has been mooted by various places around the world,” he said. “So that’s why we’re calling for this discussion to start now.”

Source: BBC News

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