This paper examines if eco-rating schemes improve environmental outcomes in the context of the international shipping industry. Shipping faces global environmental challenges and has recently witnessed the introduction of several eco-rating schemes aiming to improve the environmental performance of ships. Extending the private environmental governance literature into a mature service industry with global operations, the paper shows that concerns about eco-rating schemes’ effectiveness also have relevance here. Shipping eco-rating schemes fall short of best practices for design and governance, and this hampers improvement efforts. The study has policy implications for the achievement of improved environmental outcomes in the shipping industry.
The key enabler of international trade, shipping is heavily reliant on fossil fuels and responsible for approximately 2% of global carbon emissions. For the sector to reduce its emissions in line with climate change objectives, a wholesale transition is required from the current carbon intensive shipping system to one with a lower climatic impact. Drawing on the multi-level perspective from the socio-technical transitions literature, this paper focuses on two technological developments which could reduce the emissions from shipping – slow steaming and wind propulsion. Outlining the landscape changes which may hinder or support the incorporation of each of these innovations into the broader shipping regime the paper shows how slow steaming has been accommodated within this regime, in response to high oil prices and the economic downturn. In the longer term it concludes that additional policy measures may be required to ensure slow steaming persists should landscape pressures reduce. Oil prices, and the environmental agenda, are driving the development of wind propulsion, but more needs to be done to support those companies which seek to demonstrate and commercialise modern incarnations of the original pioneers of the seas.
The latest comprehensive update from Dr Marianne George on the Vaka Taumako Project of the Pacific Traditions Society. Detailed description and analysis of the Solomon Islands' canoe design and performance. Highly recommended.
Click here to download the document.
In this report, ICCT describe trends in global ship activity and emissions for the years 2013 to 2015. ICCT found that emissions generally increased over this period, with efficiency improvements more than offset by increases in activity.