African countries sign the Nairobi Declaration to support carbon levy on shipping

The Nairobi Declaration, signed by 20 African countries last week at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, calls for new global taxes to fund their climate change action and adaptation, a move that could dramatically shift the balance of country positions at the IMO.

In particular, the Nairobi Declaration urges world leaders to rally behind the proposal for a global carbon taxation regime including a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation, that may also be augmented by a global financial transaction tax (FTT)) to provide dedicated, affordable, and accessible finance for climate-positive investments at scale, and ringfencing of these resources and decision-making from undue influence from geopolitical and national interests.

In addition to host country Kenya, the signatories of the Nairobi Declaration are: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sahrawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Tanzania

So far, many countries have already supported a levy on global shipping emissions, including:

  • 55 Climate Vulnerable Forum countries (CVF), from Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific, have expressed support for the shipping levy, as part of the CVF Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration launched at the COP26 climate summit on 2 November 2021.
  • 22 countries and the European Commission endorsed the levy at the Paris summit in June 2023, including Greece (the largest ship-owning country in the world last year) and South Korea (one of the top three biggest shipbuilding countries in the world).
  • 7 African countries (Angola, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia and Sierra Leone) called for a global shipping levy in their submission to the IMO’s technical working group talks in June 2023 (ISWG-GHG-15).
  • The US, Canada, and the UK agreed to a shipping levy, while India intervened in support of an “economic measure” at the IMO meeting (ISWG-GHG-15) in June 2023.

Opportunity Green welcomed  the news, highlighting hat IMO must urgently adopt a maritime fuel standard alongside a universal greenhouse gas levy, to effectively phase out shipping emissions in a just and equitable way, as called for by a growing number of its most ambitious Member States.

 Doing so would not only speed up the global transition to zero-emissions, but also generate revenues for large-scale financing for climate-related investments in countries most in need of these funds

.. Ana Laranjeira. Opportunity Green, said.

Furthermore, several maritime stakeholders have supported that a carbon levy would only bring benefits to shipping. Back in 2020, Trafigura had proposed to IMO, a carbon levy of $250-$300 per tonne of carbon-dioxide (CO2) equivalent on shipping fuels, in order to make zero and low carbon fuels economically viable and competitive. More recently, the EU has proposed a levy on the shipping sector’s greenhouse gas emissions based on the amount of GHG emitted by the ship concerned. Furthermore, ICS is a firm advocate for a shipping levy, as it will speed up the transition.

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