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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite

Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite
By Matt Apuzzo & Sarah Hurtes, 6/3/21, NY Times

LONDON During a contentious meeting over proposed climate
regs last fall, a Saudi diplomat to the obscure but powerful
Int'l Maritime Org switched on his mic to make an angry
complaint: One of his colleagues was revealing the
proceedings on Twitter as they happened.

It was a breach of the secrecy at the heart of the I.M.O.,
a clubby UN agency on the banks of the Thames that regulates
int'l shipping & is charged with reducing emissions in an
industry that burns an oil so thick it might otherwise be
turned into asphalt. Shipping produces as much CO2 as all
of Americas coal plants combined.

Internal documents, recordings & dozens of interviews reveal
what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The org has
repeatedly delayed & watered down climate regs, even as
emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend
that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris
climate accord.

One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is
a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry
it regulates.

Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical mfrs & others
with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among
the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes
even speak on behalf of govts, knowing that public records
are sparse, & that even when the org allows journalists into
its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people
by name.

An agency lawyer underscored that point last fall in
addressing the Saudi complaint. This is a private meeting,
warned the lawyer, Frederick J. Kenney.

Next week, the org is scheduled to enact its first greenhouse
gas rules since Paris regs that do not cut emissions, have
no enforcement mechanism & leave key details shrouded in
secrecy. No additional proposals are far along in the rule-
making process, meaning additional regs are likely 5 years
or more away.

The reason, records show, is that some of the same countries
that signed the Paris accords have repeatedly diluted efforts
to rein in shipping emissions with industry reps in their
ears at every step. Shippers aligned themselves w/developing
nations like Brazil & India against setting emissions caps.
China, home to 4 of the 5 busiest ports in the world, argued
for years that it was too soon to make changes or even set
targets.

Often, what politicians say publicly does not match their
closed-door posture. In 2019, for example, when the Chilean
president, Sebastián Piñera, urged world leaders to make
more ambitious climate commitments, his diplomats in
London worked to defeat shipping speed limits, a measure
that would have reduced carbon emissions.

The stakes are high. Shipping, unlike other industries, is
not easily regulated nation-by-nation. A Japanese-built
tanker, for instance, might be owned by a Greek company &
sailed by an Indian crew from China to Australia all under
the flag of Panama. Thats why, when world leaders omitted
int'l shipping from the Paris agreement, responsibility fell
to the I.M.O., which has standardized the rules since 1948.

So if the I.M.O. does not curb shipping emissions, it is
unclear who will. And for now, the agency is not rushing
to change.

They have gone out of their way to try to block or water
down or discourage real conversation, said Albon Ishoda,
a Marshall Islands diplomat.

His tiny Pacific island nation is among those that have
benefited from, & perpetuated, the industrys hold on the
agency. The country effectively sold its diplomatic seat in
London to a private American company decades ago.

But global warming changed things. Seas are rising. Homes
are washing away. Much of the nation could become unlivable
in the coming decade.

Now, the Marshall Islands are putting forward a moonshot
enviro plan, a carbon tax that would penalize polluters.
It is a shot across the bow of the I.M.O.s industrial &
political forces.

And the Marshallese are moving to reclaim their diplomatic
seat & speak for themselves.

My voice is coming from my ancestors, who saw the ocean
as something that brought us wealth, Kitlang Kabua, the
Marshallese minister leading the effort. Today were
seeing it as something that will bring our ultimate death.

Watered Down from the Get-Go
=========================
The Marshallese are unlikely disrupters at the maritime org.

In 1990, the nations first president signed a deal with a
company, Int'l Registries Inc., to create a tax-friendly,
low-cost way for ships to sail under the Marshall I. flag.

The company, based in Virginia, did all the work &, on
paper, the Marshall Islands became home to one of the
worlds largest fleets. The govt shared in the revenue
roughly $8 million a year as of recently, one official said.

Things got thorny, however, when the foreign minister,
Tony de Brum, traveled to the I.M.O. in 2015. His stories
of his vanishing homeland had given urgency to the Paris
talks & he expected a similar reception in London.

He & his team had no idea what they were walking into.

When Ishoda arrived in island business attire floral shirt,
trousers & a suit jacket he said security sent him back to
his hotel for a tie.

The I.M.O. is effectively a closed-door gathering of old
male sailors, said Thom Woodroofe, an analyst who
accompanied de Brum to London. Its surprising it doesnt
still allow smoking.

de Brum, too, was almost denied a seat. Int'l Registries,
which represented the Marshall Islands on the I.M.O.,
initially refused to yield to the foreign minister,
Woodroofe recalled.

At UN climate meetings, countries are typically represented
by senior pols & delegations of govt officials. At the
maritime orgs enviro committee, however, 1 in 4 delegates
comes from industry, acc. to separate analyses by The
NY Times & the nonprofit group Influence Map.

Reps of the Brazilian mining co Vale, one of the industrys
heaviest carbon polluters & a major sea-based exporter, sit
as govt advisers. So does the French oil giant Total, along
with many shipowner assns. These arrangements allow companies
to influence policy & speak on behalf of govts.

Connections can be hard to spot. Luiz G.M. Filho sat on the
Brazilian delegation in 2017 & 2018 as a Univ of Sao Paulo
scientist. But he also worked at a Vale-funded research org
&, during his 2nd year, was a paid Vale consultant. In an
interview, he described his role as mutually beneficial:
Brazilian officials relied on his expertise, & Vale covered
his costs.

Sometimes you can't tell the difference. Is this actually
the position of a nation or the position of the industry?
said David Paul, a Marshallese senator who attended an
I.M.O. mtg in 2018.

Hundreds of other industry reps are accredited observers
& can speak at meetings. Their numbers far exceed those of
the approved enviro groups. The agency rejected an accredi-
tation request by the Enviro Defense Fund in 2018.

Industry officials & the maritime org say such arrangements
give a voice to the experts. If you dont involve the
people who are actually going to have to deliver, then
youre going to get a poor outcome, said Guy Platten,
sec'y general of the Int'l Chamber of Shipping.

de Brum tried to persuade these industry officials &
diplomats to set ambitious emissions targets over the
following 8 months.

Time is short, & it is not our friend, he told delegates
in 2015, acc. to notes from the mtg. (The Times independently
obtained mtg records & never agreed not to quote people.)

But I.M.O.s secretary general at the time, Koji Sekimizu
of Japan, openly opposed strict emissions regulation as a
hindrance to economic growth. And an informal bloc of
countries & industry groups helped drag out the
goal-setting process for 3 years.

Documents show that China, Brazil & India, in particular,
threw up repeated roadblocks: In 2015, it was too soon to
consider a strategy. In 2016, it was premature to discuss
setting targets. In 2017, they lacked the data to discuss
long-term goals.

The question of data comes up often. Adm. Luiz Henrique
Caroli, Brazils senior I.M.O. rep, said he does not
believe the studies showing rising emissions. Brazil wants
to cut emissions, he said, but not before further study on
the economic effect.

We want to do that, this reduction, in a controlled way,
he said in an interview.

The Cook Islands, another Pacific archipelago, make a
similar argument. Like the Marshalls, they face rising seas
& an uncertain future. But the more immediate concerns are
jobs & cost of living, said Joshua Mitchell, of the countrys
foreign office. Existential questions have to be balanced
against the priorities of the country in the moment, he said.

Megan Darby, a journalist for Climate Home News, said she
was suspended from maritime meetings after quoting a
Cook Islands diplomat.

The I.M.O. almost never puts enviro policies to a vote,
favoring instead an informal consensus-building. That
effectively gives vocal opponents blocking power, & even
some of the agencys defenders acknowledge that it favors
minimally acceptable steps over decisive action.

So, when delegates finally set goals in 2018, de Brums
ambition had been whittled away.

The Marshall Islands suggested a target of zero emissions
by the 2nd half of the century meaning by 2050.
Industry reps offered a slightly different goal: Decarboni-
zation should occur within the 2nd half of the century,
a one-word difference that amounted to a 50-year extension.

Soon, though, the delegates agreed, without a vote, to
eliminate zero-emissions targets entirely.

What remained were two key goals:

First, the industry would try to improve fuel efficiency
by at least 40 %. This was largely a mirage. The target was
set so low that, by some calculations, it was reached nearly
the moment it was announced.

Second, the agency aimed to cut emissions at least in half
by 2050. But even this watered-down goal is proving
unreachable. The agencys own data say emissions may
rise by 30%.

Compromised away
==============
When delegates met last Oct 5 years after de Brums speech
the organization had not taken any action. Proposals like
speed limits had been debated and rejected.

What remained was what several delegates called the
refrigerator rating a score that, like those on
American appliances, identified the clean & dirty ships.

European delegates insisted that, for the system to work,
low-scoring ships must eventually be prohibited from sailing.

China & its allies wanted no such consequence.

So Sveinung Oftedal of Norway, the groups chairman, told
France & China to meet separately & compromise.

Delegates worked across time zones, meeting over teleconfer-
ences because of the pandemic. Shipping industry officials
said they weighed in thru the night.

The Marshallese were locked out.

Were always being told We hear you, Ishoda said. But
when it comes to the details of the conversation, were
told We dont need you to contribute.

Ultimately, France ceded to nearly all of Chinas requests,
records show. The dirtiest ships would not be grounded.
Shipowners would file plans saying they intended to
improve, would not be required to actually improve.

German delegates were so upset that they threatened to
oppose the deal, likely triggering a cascade of defections,
acc. to 3 people involved in the talks. But EU officials
rallied countries behind the compromise, arguing that Europe
couldn't be seen as standing in the way of even limited progress.

At I.M.O., that is as always the choice, said Damien
Chevallier, the French negotiator. We have the choice to
have nothing, or just to have a first step.

All of this happened in secret. The I.M.O.s summary of the
meeting called it a major step forward. Natasha Brown, a
spokeswoman, said it would empower customers & advocacy
groups. We know from consumer goods that the rating
system works, she said.

But the regulation includes another caveat: The I.M.O.
will not publish the scores, letting shipping companies
decide whether to say how dirty their ships are.

A Storm on the Horizon
=====================
Ms. Kabua, the Marshallese minister, is under no illusions
that reclaiming the diplomatic seat will lead to a
climate breakthrough.

But if it works, she said, it might inspire other countries
with private registries to do the same. Countries could
speak for themselves rather than thru a corporate filter.

Regardless of the outcome, the political winds are shifting.
The EU is moving to include shipping in its emissions-trading
system. The US, after years of being minor players at the
agency, is re-engaging under Biden & recently suggested it
may tackle shipping emissions itself.

Both would be huge blows to the I.M.O., which has long
insisted that it alone regulate shipping.

Suddenly, industry officials say they are eager to consider
things like fuel taxes or carbon.

Theres much more of a sense of momentum & crisis, said
Platten, the industry rep. You can argue about, Are we
late to it, & all the rest. But it is palpable.

Behind closed doors, though, resistance remains. At a climate
mtg last winter, recordings show that the mere suggestion that
shipping should become sustainable sparked an angry response.

Such statements show a lack of respect for the industry,
said Kostas Gkonis, director of the trade group Intercargo.

And just last week, delegates met in secret to debate what
should constitute a passing grade under the new rating
system. Under pressure from China, Brazil & others, the
delegates set the bar so low that emissions can continue to
rise at roughly the same pace as if there had been no
regulation at all.

Delegates agreed to revisit the issue in five years.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/w...anization.html
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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite

On Fri, 4 Jun 2021 22:21:22 -0700 (PDT), David P
wrote:

snip

Internal documents, recordings & dozens of interviews reveal
what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The org has
repeatedly delayed & watered down climate regs, even as
emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend
that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris
climate accord.

One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is
a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry
it regulates.

Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical mfrs & others
with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among
the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes
even speak on behalf of govts, knowing that public records
are sparse, & that even when the org allows journalists into
its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people
by name.


snip

Yup, similar to the tobacco / meat / dairy / egg industries to name
but four. Massive financial stakes resting on the backs of the
suffering of others and where denial (re the impact on human heath and
environmental damage / pollution) is something they will take to their
graves.

Cheers, T i m
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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite

On 05/06/2021 06:21, David P wrote:
Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite
By Matt Apuzzo & Sarah Hurtes, 6/3/21, NY Times

snipped

Yes let's go back to nice, sustainable sailing ships. And see how much
that adds to the price of shipping goods.
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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does theOpposite

On 05/06/2021 09:03, T i m wrote:
David P wrote:


snip


Internal documents, recordings & dozens of interviews reveal
what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The org has
repeatedly delayed & watered down climate regs, even as
emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend
that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris
climate accord.


One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is
a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry
it regulates.


Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical mfrs & others
with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among
the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes
even speak on behalf of govts, knowing that public records
are sparse, & that even when the org allows journalists into
its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people
by name.


snip


Yup, similar to the tobacco / meat / dairy / egg industries to name
but four. Massive financial stakes resting on the backs of the
suffering of others and where denial (re the impact on human heath and
environmental damage / pollution) is something they will take to their
graves.


Be careful. Much of your anti-meat-eating veganist-diet fruit and
vegetables are shipped in. The wartime population of the UK was 48m, and
we were short of 5m tons/yr of supplies even with rationing.

You might find you need to become a subsistence farmer, better buy that
40 acres sooner rather than later.... And you can kiss goodbye to your
'Plant Pioneers, meat free chicken-style pieces' between us (about 7
chunks each, no room for more in the large wrap) in a wrap with some
salad, with some extra tomato, cucumber and diced onion'.

--
Spike
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Default OT: Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Doesthe Opposite

;


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On 05/06/2021 10:03, T i m wrote:
On Fri, 4 Jun 2021 22:21:22 -0700 (PDT), David P
wrote:

snip

Internal documents, recordings & dozens of interviews reveal
what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The org has
repeatedly delayed & watered down climate regs, even as
emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend
that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris
climate accord.

One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is
a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry
it regulates.

Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical mfrs & others
with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among
the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes
even speak on behalf of govts, knowing that public records
are sparse, & that even when the org allows journalists into
its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people
by name.


snip

Yup, similar to the tobacco / meat / dairy / egg industries to name
but four. Massive financial stakes resting on the backs of the
suffering of others and where denial (re the impact on human heath and
environmental damage / pollution) is something they will take to their
graves.


Tobacco is the exception, abstinence from meat / dairy / eggs is proven
to harm human health.


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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite

In article ,
Fredxx wrote:
On 05/06/2021 10:03, T i m wrote:
On Fri, 4 Jun 2021 22:21:22 -0700 (PDT), David P
wrote:

snip

Internal documents, recordings & dozens of interviews reveal
what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The org has
repeatedly delayed & watered down climate regs, even as
emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend
that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris
climate accord.

One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is
a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry
it regulates.

Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical mfrs & others
with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among
the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes
even speak on behalf of govts, knowing that public records
are sparse, & that even when the org allows journalists into
its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people
by name.


snip

Yup, similar to the tobacco / meat / dairy / egg industries to name
but four. Massive financial stakes resting on the backs of the
suffering of others and where denial (re the impact on human heath and
environmental damage / pollution) is something they will take to their
graves.


Tobacco is the exception, abstinence from meat / dairy / eggs is proven
to harm human health.


I ddin't know tobacco was an animal product ;-)

--
from KT24 in Surrey, England
"I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of boredom" Thomas Carlyle
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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does theOpposite

On 06/06/2021 14:47, charles wrote:
Fredxx wrote:


On 05/06/2021 10:03, T i m wrote:


Yup, similar to the tobacco / meat / dairy / egg industries


Tobacco is the exception, abstinence from meat / dairy / eggs is proven
to harm human health.


I didn't know tobacco was an animal product ;-)


Anything is possible in T i m ' s Post-Truth Marxist-Veganist world...

--
Spike
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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite

On Fri, 4 Jun 2021 22:21:22 -0700 (PDT), David P
wrote:

Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite


It's all a great big stinking pile of crap, anyway. The climate
changes regardless whether man is making CO2 or not. In fact the level
of CO2 in the atmosphere is self-stablilsing thanks to plant activity
and hasn't changed one iota over the course of the last 120 years.
Whatever TPTB are up to, they're not being honest and are hiding the
real reason for their 'climate concerns'.
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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does theOpposite

On 06/06/2021 18:06, Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Fri, 4 Jun 2021 22:21:22 -0700 (PDT), David P
wrote:

Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite


It's all a great big stinking pile of crap, anyway. The climate
changes regardless whether man is making CO2 or not. In fact the level
of CO2 in the atmosphere is self-stablilsing thanks to plant activity


Within bounds, yes.

and hasn't changed one iota over the course of the last 120 years.


You know full well that simply isn't true.

Whatever TPTB are up to, they're not being honest and are hiding the
real reason for their 'climate concerns'.





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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite

On Sun, 06 Jun 2021 18:06:56 +0100, Cursitor Doom
wrote:

On Fri, 4 Jun 2021 22:21:22 -0700 (PDT), David P
wrote:

Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite


It's all a great big stinking pile of crap, anyway. The climate
changes regardless whether man is making CO2 or not. In fact the level
of CO2 in the atmosphere is self-stablilsing thanks to plant activity
and hasn't changed one iota over the course of the last 120 years.
Whatever TPTB are up to, they're not being honest and are hiding the
real reason for their 'climate concerns'.


You are a complete and utter ****.


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Default Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Doesthe Opposite

R Souls wrote:
On Sun, 06 Jun 2021 18:06:56 +0100, Cursitor Doom
wrote:

On Fri, 4 Jun 2021 22:21:22 -0700 (PDT), David P
wrote:

Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite

It's all a great big stinking pile of crap, anyway. The climate
changes regardless whether man is making CO2 or not. In fact the level
of CO2 in the atmosphere is self-stablilsing thanks to plant activity
and hasn't changed one iota over the course of the last 120 years.
Whatever TPTB are up to, they're not being honest and are hiding the
real reason for their 'climate concerns'.


You are a complete and utter ****.


Lookit the tiny spike on the end (the right of the graph).

https://climate.nasa.gov/system/char...eft_061720.gif

That will hammer right out. I heard
two plants talking about it today.

Paul



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