Greenhouse Gas Emissions from International Maritime Transport: The Science in a New Zealand and Australian Context

Inga J. Smith, Oliver J.A. Howitt, Vincent G.N. Revol, Warren B. Fitzgerald, Craig J. Rodger


Greenhouse gas emissions from international maritime transport contribute to anthropogenic global warming, as do those from international air transport. However, no liability was apportioned for these international emissions under the Kyoto Protocol when it was adopted in 1997. Instead, Article 2.2 of the Kyoto Protocol (United Nations, 1998) stated that:

“2. The Parties included in Annex 1 shall pursue limitation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol from aviation and marine bunker fuels, working through the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization, respectively.”
In recent years, there has been increasing international attention given to quantifying such emissions, with a view to possible inclusion of liabilities under future international climate agreements, particularly leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Conference of Parties (COP) 15) in Copenhagen, 7-18 December 2009.

This paper will review the science of greenhouse gas emissions from international maritime transport in the context of international maritime vessels passing through New Zealand and Australian ports. New Zealand and Australia are both countries with entirely maritime international borders and are geographically remote from many of their trading partners. Both nations are therefore heavily reliant on international maritime transport for the trade of goods with other countries. The implications of recent legal and policy developments in the Australasian geographic context will be briefly discussed.


International energy and climate policy;Greenhouse gas emissions from international maritime transport

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