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Lack of legal framework a real challenge in getting to zero emissions

The goal of getting the shipping industry to zero carbon emissions is not just about technology and economic viability, and legal framework will be key to success, the Global Maritime Forum was told.

While much of the focus has been on developing technologies for zero emissions fuels and ships Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill Ocean Transportation, told participants: “The real, real challenge is we need a legal framework and we need a level playing field. And this is not just around the price of carbon but also around some of the safety aspects and some of the environmental aspects of these technologies because people need to make decisions and need to know where they are standing.”0

He continued, “We can talk a lot today about technologies but if we cannot get the legal framework sorted out we have the risk of running in circles especially around the carbon side.”

The lack of a global legal framework also raises the spectre of regional or national legislation – long an area of contention for the global shipping industry. “If the IMO is not able to pull this off quickly I think the risk is a lot of jurisdictions are going to do their own thing and I think that could throw us back.”

Isabelle Durant, deputy secretary-general of UNCTAD agreed on the necessity for a legal framework and saw a need for the push for this to come from the industry itself.

“Maybe it’s you, the private sector, industry is able to show how multilateralism is possible through you to push and a pressure on the heads of states, and the ministers on a global level and a multi-lateral level to be able to table this legislation, because legislation on a national level is not useful. National legislation is really a way to protect your industry and an advantage in the market,” she said.

“We need an international legal framework in order to show us where we have to go, and to achieve this goal I think we need a multilateral approach of the private sector.”