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Climate MAYDAY to target UN shipping agency with go-slow protest

Monday, 06 May 2019 | 12:00

Government representatives from around the world are gathering in London on Tuesday May 7th to continue UN talks on reducing shipping’s climate impact.

We are Climate MAYDAY, a group of artists, activists and campaigners who will be there to welcome delegates, and demand immediate action to cut ship GHG emissions by slowing ships down.

WHERE: outside the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), 4 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7SR

WHEN: 08:00-10:00am, Tuesday May 7th.

Shipping is one of the most polluting industries, emitting more CO2 than most of the world’s countries. Decisions made during these negotiations will determine whether the shipping industry responds to the climate emergency or continues to avoid its climate responsibilities. On the table are proposals to cut emissions deeply and quickly by slowing ships down but many countries and industry organisations are opposing them.

Climate MAYDAY Enforcement Officers will be “pulling over” country delegates as they arrive and issuing them with speeding tickets, a reminder that ship speeds are rising and too high for climate safety.

To drive home the message dancers will give a Butoh street theatre performance of “Go slow! A warning signal to the shipping industry”; a haunting, vibrant and experimental celebration of what slow means.

“We demand that delegates at these talks urgently agree to measures that slow down ships, reducing their GHG emissions and the rate of climate change”, says artistic director Nicole Cataldo-Davies. “This is the only appropriate response to the climate emergency we are facing and the only way the industry can play its full part in reducing the catastrophic effects of climate change”.

Two weeks of negotiations will start at the UN’s International Maritime Organisations (IMO) on May 7th. The IMO is responsible for the safety and environmental regulation of international shipping and these talks follow on from an agreement reached at IMO last year to decarbonise international shipping. Having set that objective the talks will now focus on agreeing measures to actually reduce emissions.

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change recommended last week that the UK’s international shipping trade routes be reduced to zero CO2 emissions by 2050 – compared to the current IMO target of at least a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 for the whole sector. Therefore the UK government must find a way to drive faster decarbonisation at IMO talks this week in London. So far, the UK government has refused to answer whether it supports speed reduction to achieve this.

Shipping is responsible for around 3% of global GHG emissions, similar to Germany or Japan. It would be the 6th largest emitter if treated as a country. Emissions are projected to grow by 50-250% by 2050. It’s over 20 years since the Kyoto Protocol tasked the IMO with tackling ship climate impacts, yet it has still not got shipping emissions under control, driven by consumerism, globalisation and fast fashion.

There is a cubic relationship between ship speed and fuel consumption and emissions, and at the individual ship level a 10% reduction in ship speed can result in a 27% fall in fuel consumption and GHG emissions. Slower speeds will require more ships to be built and this reduces the benefit at the fleet level, but this addition is far, far less than the total reduction in CO2 from all existing ships. Slower speeds are the most effective way to reduce ship GHG emissions in the short-term and are necessary for IMO to meet its GHG targets. Speeds could be reduced directly via speed limits or indirectly via an operational efficiency standard (both options are on the table at the IMO). While the latter provides the option of meetings the standards by doing something other than reducing speed, studies have shown that the effect will be for ships to reduce speed as this is the most cost-effective action.

Climate MAYDAY is a group of artists, activists and campaigners urging the shipping industry towards greater climate ambition.

Butoh is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. Dancers will do repeat performances of a short ½ minute movement that captures the essence of dirty and clean emissions, and the demand of slowing down.
Source: Climate MAYDAY

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