Talking about those numbers showing the CO2 emissions of shipping:
From a technical point of view, this means it is crucial that there be limits on the number of emission rights the shipping sector is permitted to buy from other industries – to prevent it simply carrying on with business as usual, on the back of progress made in other sectors.
She still doesn\’t get it, does she?
And, more generally, it does also ultimately mean looking at the amount and the manner in which we consume. Is it really the best use of fuel and emissions to ferry 13,000 containers of toys, food, clothes and televisions from China to Europe each month on the Emma Maersk and others like her, for example? These are issues to be explored in a hearing I will host for MEPs next month, and I look forward to seeing the same level of debate develop over shipping as we have at long last reached on aviation – hopefully, to be followed up rapidly with rather more effective action than has been generated there.
Aren\’t we lucky to have a Ph.D. in Elizabethan Literature discussing such economic matters for us?
The entire point of tradeable permits (or carbon taxes, if you prefer) is that we reduce emissions in whichever sector we can reduce them most cheaply, allowing us to go on with those emittive activities which we value more. And the determinantors of which activities we value more are we, the consumers. That\’s actually what the whole system is supposed to do: reduce emissions at the least cost to human happiness, that happiness determined by the people doing the happying.
So let us set up something of a straw man. We need to reduce emissions by 90%. Shipping currently is 4.5% of the total, aviation about the same. Call it 10% all in. OK, if we, in our actions as consumers, decide that we\’ll do away with al other emissions and keep the shippingand aviation, as those are the most valuable things to us,. that\’s just fine. Mission accomplished, eh?
Now of course, that is ridiculous, we wouldn\’t actually want to do that: but it is were the logic of permits leads: set the limit and then let the market work out for you which are the activities most valued and thus the ones which get to carry on.