New Delhi– The shipping industry has aggressively lobbied the UN to obstruct climate change action for shipping, ensuring it remains the only sector in the world not currently subject to any emission reduction measures, a new research by InfluenceMap said on Monday.

The report, “Corporate capture of the UN International Maritime Organisation: How shipping lobbies to stay out of the Paris Agreement on climate”, said despite being responsible for close to three per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the shipping sector remains outside the UN Paris Agreement on climate control.

It has achieved this through corporate capture of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN body responsible for regulating global shipping, the report by the business lobbying watchdog said.

The report’s release coincides with a key IMO meeting on greenhouse gas emissions from ships beginning in London on Monday.

A 2015 European Parliament report estimated that shipping could be responsible for 17 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 if left unregulated, potentially jeopardising global ambitions set out under the Paris Agreement.

According to the 38-page report, the three main industry trade associations represented at the IMO are the International Chamber of Shipping, Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and World Shipping Council.

They have lobbied to delay greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures for shipping until 2023 and rejected any binding greenhouse gas emissions targets.

They have also collectively opposed ambitious energy efficiency standards and appear unsupportive of a price on carbon, it said.

The research found that at the most recent IMO environmental committee meeting 31 per cent of the nations were represented in part by direct business interests.

The IMO appears the only UN agency to allow such extensive corporate representation in the policy making process.

The shipping industry is highly fragmented with most shipping operators privately owned, with a particularly large concentration domiciled in Greece, it said.

The individual companies are largely silent on climate risk and their positions on climate regulation.

They prefer to allow their IMO-focused lobbying to be done by the powerful International Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO and World Shipping Council, all of whom oppose any binding greenhouse gas regulation in the sector.

The report praised AP Moller-Maersk as one of the only shipping companies to have a transparent – and relatively ambitious – position on climate policy. Some Scandinavian ship owners associations also support stronger action.

Climate advocates say the shipping industry is not up to speed with the 2015 Paris Agreement goal to hold global warming “well below 2 degrees Celsius”.

Christiana Figueres, former UN climate chief and founder of Mission 2020, said: “The Paris Agreement committed the world to ambitious action on climate change, yet the shipping industry is not up to speed.”

“It’s time to raise the anchor and seize the opportunity between now and 2020 to align with other industries and chart the course to well below 2C pathway,” Figueres said. (IANS)