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China has urged poorer countries to oppose a tax on ship emissions and tougher targets to decarbonize one of the world’s dirtiest industries, criticizing rich countries for setting targets “unrealistic” with “significant” financial costs.
Beijing circulated a “diplomatic note” to developing countries as they prepared for a critical meeting at the UN’s International Maritime Organization in July, according to four people present at the IMO discussions. The lobbying effort comes days after France rallied 22 allies behind a tax on ship emissions.
China has warned that “an overambitious emissions reduction target will seriously hamper the sustainable development of international shipping, dramatically increase the cost of the supply chain and hamper the recovery of the global economy”, according to a document seen. by the Financial Times.
He added: “Developed countries are pushing the IMO to achieve unrealistic visions and levels of ambition. (They advocate) a flat rate (levy that) will lead to a significant increase in shipping costs. Rich countries have not agreed on a price for the emissions tax.
Efforts by China, the world’s largest exporter that also has a large state-owned shipping industry, have heightened concerns about a lack of progress on decarbonising a fuel-intensive sector that provides up to 90% of the world’s traded goods, according to the OECD.
By the end of next week, the IMO has pledged to step up its ambition, long criticized by environmental campaigners as weak, to halve annual emissions from shipping from their 2008 levels by ‘by 2050. But participants in talks at the IMO this week said China had helped rally countries in closed-door negotiations that had become deeply divided between developed and developing member states.
Brazil, Argentina and South Africa have also opposed a tax on shipping company emissions, which they say would increase the cost of exports for their major commodity markets, according to two people familiar with the talks. .
The poorest countries are not united in opposition. The Marshall Islands, which is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise due to climate change, has called for an emissions tax of $100 a tonne. Albon Ishoda, the country’s ambassador to the IMO, expressed concern that the level of “polarization has become unnecessary” with some participants in the private talks failing to meet their national decarbonization commitments.
He added that it was ironic that some developing countries had complained that a tax on shipping emissions would increase their financial burden while calling for the money generated by this measure not to be invested outside the shipping industry.
According to the memo seen by the FT, China has called for all revenue generated by IMO regulations to be invested “into the sector”, arguing that wider use of these funds would shift “the responsibility for financing climate change from developed countries to . . . international maritime transport”.
He opposed setting 2050 as the last year to achieve net zero emissions, instead supporting a broader goal of “net zero GHG emissions from international shipping by mid-century”. He said a tax on ship emissions was “a disguised way by developed countries to improve their own competitiveness in the market”.
President Xi Jinping has pledged to reduce China’s net carbon dioxide emissions to near zero by 2060. Beijing’s State Council Information Office did not respond to email questions on Saturday .
The diplomatic note echoes comments by Premier Li Qiang, who said at a World Economic Forum event last week: “It is unfair for developing countries to conform to the standards of developed countries. Developed countries should take more responsibility for meeting the climate challenge.
AT summit in Paris the same week, France and other wealthy nations called on the IMO to set targets that would align shipping with international ambitions to limit global warming to 1.5°C above global levels. preindustrial. The EU is already planning to impose a financial cost on maritime pollution by bringing the sector into its emissions trading system.
China’s warnings about the effects of such measures were countered last week by the World Bank, a lender to developing countries. He argued in a blog post that allowing wider use of all revenues from an emissions tax would support poorer countries that have few opportunities to invest directly in the shipping sector.
Additional reporting by Cheng Leng, Thomas Hale and Edward White