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$80 billion p.a. in pollution levies on the table at IMO

And how much will be committed to the priority needs of the climate vulnerable depends on the skill and stamina of our Pacific negotiating teams over the next 6 months. This week the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands lodged four new submissions at the International Maritime Organization calling for greatly increased and 1.5 commensurate levels of ambition, commitment to an equitable global transition and for shipping to agree a high price on GHG. It is the largest and most ambitious carbon price call for any sector in the world. They need other Pacific high ambition voices to join them.

The science and the economics are clear, the transition requires a paradigm shift, but it is technically possible and achievable – if we go hard now. And it could be a game-breaker for Pacific states. In Fiji we have known this for a decade. It was the first lesson from a brand-new research program I founded with then USP Economics Professor Prasad in 2012. A decade on, the costs and risks are much higher. Our research partners at UCL calculate that failure to act will cost shipping a $100billion p.a. from now on in. Delaying will always cost more. The Pacific will always pay the highest price if it isn’t proactive. This time, thanks to the continual leadership of the Marshalls and Solomons, it is on the front foot.

Since the late Tony de Brum led a high-level diplomatic delegation to the IMO in 2015, a steady and disciplined high-ambition Pacific coalition, supported by the best available local and international research, has continued to consistently move the dial on forcing 1.5 to the top of shipping's emissions reduction program.

In July the IMO must agree its revised Strategy for GHG emissions. It will be a watershed moment for this UN agency – its credibility is on the line. Will this large and essential emitting sector choose to lead the necessary climate response and commit to a hard hitting package of measures to achieve it. It is being called shipping's 'trillions transition', the greatest investment opportunity in shipping's history. Today we see clear evidence of large industry – Maersk, Trafigura, Lloyds, etc – and big shipping countries – Norway, Korea, China, Japan, Singapore – positioning their economies to benefit from next generation, GHG free shipping. But it will come at a global cost – one currently borne by the smallest and most vulnerable, and by future generations.

At the heart of IMO’s negotiations is the question of what to do with the revenues that the Strategy will generate?  It has taken the Pacific five years of patient diplomacy to get this most critical issue back on the agenda. There is now general agreement that shipping will put a price on its emissions and that a byproduct of a market based measure is the money they raise. The Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands proposal is by far the most ambitious – the World Bank values it at between $60-80 billion per year. The Pacific is calling for it to be in place by 2025. Other proposals are less ambitious but would still raise significant sums. The Japanese counter proposal, for example, is valued at about $40 billion and would almost all go to mitigation.

The hard work of our tiny Pacific delegations at IMO means that the concept of an Equitable Transition, one that leaves no state is left behind, is squarely in the frame.  Consistent effort by Marshalls, Solomons, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Fiji has successfully ensured that "the particular needs of SIDS & LDCs" and "Equitable Transition" are now firmly cemented into the text. But what that means in practice and how well the Pacific is positioned to maximize the benefits from all this diplomatic effort will be the test back at home.

The hard yards at IMO are the key to unlocking much needed financing revenues for transitioning our domestic fleets to better and cleaner technologies and more appropriate and affordable shipping. For this, the Pacific needs billions and it cant be all or even mostly loans. And it is key to much more. What is the share of a 'trillions transition' that is needed if our states are not to be left behind? And how will we be compensated for the inevitable disproportionate increase in shipping costs our countries will inevitably face?

I note the recent Samoan suggestion that increased shipping costs might be met by owning the container ship. However, I assure Samoa that any ship that they own that runs on fossil fuel is going to be an ever-increasing cost item. The solution to the shipping dilemma and future shipping costs rests with the skill of Pacific delegations at IMO - now. They have worked diligently and quietly for us for the last seven years. They need and deserve our countries' full support – now.

marine-environment-protection-committee

Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, flanked by members of the Pacific Delegation, John Taukave (L) and John Kautoke (R) during the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) - 79th Session.

Author: Dr Peter Nuttall, Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport
Email:

As Pacific high ambition pressure at IMO for a paradigm shift for international shipping decarbonization builds and we inch closer to a real price on shipping emissions, we turn back to how to organize a parallel shift for our domestic fleets.

In our latest technical working paper, MCST suggests alternative narratives for the governance, financing and technology transition pathways for the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership.

The speed and scale of transition required to implement our country’s NDC’s domestic maritime targets are unprecedented. It demands a complete revolution in technology and a paradigm shift in fleet management and operations as well as the financial investment and program delivery away from existing structures. A dedicated bespoke solution is required.

Our research considers a collective country approach with governance via a Ministerial Council of participating countries the most appropriate and efficient structure.

Central to PBSP’s design is the need for a country-owned and -driven program. In essence PBSP is a formal agreement between a number of states to:

  • set a common objective via NDCs for their domestic shipping transition
  • collaborate on setting national strategic policy and project priorities through National Action Plans to best advantage the collective Partnership
  • agree to coordinate external no-regrets climate finance investment as a collective portfolio to best advantage the collective Partnership
  • collaborate to build long-term in-country capacity and institutional strengthening to underpin the domestic maritime transition across the sector

pbsp

For more information on the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership, click here.


Strengthening the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership

World Bank Maritime Transport Group

Synthesis report of

  • Governance framework,
  • High-level baseline assessment,
  • Zero-carbon transition plan, and
  • Blended finance roadmap

August 2023

(Support from the World Bank NDC Support Facility is gratefully acknowledged)

This analytical work aiming at “Strengthening the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership (PBSP)” was undertaken as part of the World Bank’s wider regional advisory services and analytics (ASA) “A Blue Transformation for Pacific Maritime Transport.

This decarbonization component of the ASA has aimed at strengthening the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership (PBSP) through targeted analytics and capacity development. The PBSP represents an ambitious country-driven initiative for large-scale blended finance investment to catalyze a multi-country transition to sustainable, resilient, and zero-carbon shipping. It is co-led by the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Fiji and currently includes six PICs as member countries (Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu).

Currently, existing multilateral and bilateral support for ambitious climate action to PBSP member countries is almost exclusively focused on land-based activity. In contrast, the maritime transport sector’s decarbonization by far has not received the same level of attention, and as such gaps exist between the current level of multi-country inbound infrastructure investment and what is needed to meet the PBPS decarbonization targets for 2030 and 2050.

This synthesis report summarizes the main findings and key recommendations from four complementary working papers that try to fill some of the knowledge gaps listed above, namely:

  1. a governance framework that proposes a governance structure for the PBSP taking into consideration its aims and needs,
  2. a high-level baseline assessment that establishes a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory for six PICs: Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu,
  3. a zero-carbon transition plan aiming at outlining the technical and operational pathways which could enable the PBSP to fully decarbonize domestic maritime transport by 2050,
  4. a blended finance roadmap that explores ways to fund the sector’s energy transition.

This synthesis report together with the four working papers aims to strengthen the PBSP in terms of achieving its ambitious GHG emissions reduction targets for Pacific maritime transport by 2030 and 2050.

 

Meetings during the 79th Session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 79) and the Inter-Sessional Working Group on Greenhouse Gases (ISWG-GHG 13) are going to be key for Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) in ensuring a 1.5 agenda is built into the revised International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Strategy, which will be adopted during MEPC 80, in 2023.

A bundle of four submissions has been submitted to ISWG-GHG 13 and MEPC 79 in December, building up to MEPC 80.

Pacific high ambition delegations hard at work at IWSG-13

Pacific high ambition delegations hard at work at IWSG-13

 Marshall Islands, Tonga, Kiribati delegations debriefing at IMO HQ

Marshall Islands, Tonga, Kiribati delegations debriefing at IMO HQ

Our 6PAC out in force at ISWG-GHG 13 at the IMO, London this week fighting for #onepointfive to stay alive. #ShippingNews #decarbonisation #equitabletransition #zeroby2050 #leavingnonebehind pic.twitter.com/bQEcF3d1Cy

— MCST-RMIUSP (@mcst_rmiusp) December 6, 2022

Click here to read the media release >>

The 2nd IMO symposium on low- and zero-carbon fuels for shipping was held on 21 October at IMO’s London headquarters with the theme "Ensuring a just and inclusive transition towards low-carbon shipping". The event brought together more than 1,500 participants from Member States, IGOs, NGOs and the public. The needs of, and opportunities for, developing countries in the process of energy transition towards low/zero-carbon alternative fuels for shipping were a particular topic of discussion.

The particular challenges facing Small Islands Developing States were made plain in an impassioned and forthright presentation by Atina Schutz, a student researcher at the Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport. Ms Schutz was addressing the Symposium from the Marshall Islands which, she reminded the audience, stands less than two metres above sea level and are the most vulnerable to climate change.

"I am in my early 20s, the generation that may pay the true cost of fossil fuels." She went on, "Time is not our friend...We have no choice; we must act decisively now. The investment opportunities for a responsible industry are enormous", she said, calling upon IMO to provide certainty of speed and trajectory of change using existing principles enshrined in international law to ensure an equitable transition.