The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty ratified by all member states of the United Nations, plus several other countries. Its goal is to limit climate change by reducing man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly of carbon dioxide. As the name indicates, it is a framework convention and hence non-binding and non-enforced. The ratifying parties meet at the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference to establish the current status and decide on legally binding emission targets.
The Kyoto Protocol
Five years after the convention was ratified, the 1997 Conference of the Parties in Kyoto, Japan, first established internationally binding limits on GHG emissions. The resulting Kyoto Protocol recognizes the historical responsibility of developed industrialized countries for global warming. Due to their disproportionately high contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions since pre-industrial times, they also bear a heavier burden. During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and the European Union committed to reduce GHG emissions by an average of 5% compared to 1990 levels between 2008-2012. On paper, the 36 signatories that remained committed to the international agreement met their targets. However, the permitted “flexibility mechanisms” allowed under the Kyoto Protocol permit emissions trading, so not all GHGs were truly cut; some were merely shifted. During the second commitment period, emission targets were raised to an average of -18% for 2013 to 2020.
The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement is not an amendment of the Kyoto targets, but a separate instrument within the framework convention. The result of 2015 climate talks in Paris, France, it was ratified in 2016. Its aim is “keeping a global temperature rise this century well below two degrees” to combat climate change. However, in addition to the fact that this goal is not ambitious enough to effectively prevent a climate crisis, the individual targets set by each country are not yet being met. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris climate agreement lacks a binding enforcement mechanism.
The Kyoto Protocol is seen as an important first step towards a truly global emission reduction regime that will stabilize GHG emissions and can provide the architecture for the future international agreement on climate change.
Marine shipping’s role in the UNFCCC
The UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement all ignore CO2 emissions from marine shipping. They are not included in the greenhouse gas inventory of the volumes to be reduced by participating countries. MAN Energy Solutions supports a roadmap to decarbonization, helping the shipping industry become carbon-neutral by 2050. This would contribute massively to the goals outlined in the global treaties by curbing global emissions that are currently not even factored into calculations.
Maritime Energy Transition supports UNFCCC goals
MAN is driving the transition of marine vessels to LNG (liquefied natural gas) propulsion. A retrofit drastically cuts emissions, making marine transport cleaner and compatible with climate goals. In the long run, any vessel converted to LNG propulsion can be run on carbon-neutral synthesized fuels.
Marine shipping’s role in the UNFCCC
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has negotiated its own Greenhouse Gas (GHG) agreement, setting ambitious climate goals for the marine shipping industry. Bjarne Foldager, Head of Sales & Promotion for MAN Energy Solutions’ two-stroke engine business, explains why he welcomes the ambitious goals and how the increase of sustainable technologies fits into the company’s long-term strategy.
We want to support the whole transition to more sustainable energy in marine shipping.