Last chance

CNN financial news editor Todd Benjamin says its time for shipping to get its act together on the environment.

After a day of chairing the Nor-Shipping Opening Conference “From Crisis to Opportunity” in Oslo, Benjamin says he has become more enlightened to the key role of the industry in world trade but he still wants to see it clean up on its environmental performance.

Todd Benjamin 312

Speaking to TradeWinds he said: “My overall impression is that shipping is a pretty mixed bag to be honest. It’s clear that on environmental issues there are some companies which are further along than others.”

Referring to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen (COP15) meeting to set new greenhouse gas emissions targets, he said: "The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) secretary general has made it clear he would like to see self regulation. But unless the IMO can come up with a clear set of proposals on CO2 reduction then something [green house gas reduction targets] is going to be imposed on shipping.”

The IMO is producing a ship design index to improve efficiency of newbuildings and is introducing an operation guide for efficient shipping. Ahead of COP 15 it is also debating whether to use a levy on bunker fuel or emissions trading to promote green shipping.

Benjamin said: “Shipping was not on the radar screen when the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated but it is now. It has had a free pass once and it won’t get it again. It is true shipping is the most efficient mode of transport but with benefits come responsibilities.”

Benjamin is involved in the Great Leaderships Technology Exchange to promote green business and technology.