Bunkers in Bangkok

The sun rises lazily over the Bangkok skyline as I find myself awake and contemplating the coming days.

2 weeks of negotiations between some 200 countries in pursuit of an ambitious global deal on climate change. When you think of what’s at stake, the whole process seems cumbersome and inadequate, but what alternative is there?
I’m here representing the UK on so called bunker fuel emissions, basically emissions from international aviation and shipping. It’s a painful topic, sadly omitted from Kyoto as a tragedy of the commons. Unable to agree responsibility for the emissions, the issue was shunted into ICAO and IMO, the international bodies responsible for aviation and shipping respectively. 12 years later, nothing has really changed.
The EU has taken it’s own action on aviation, the UK has taken on bold domestic targets, but at the end of the day, few countries are even willing to discuss it in the UN.
However, what has changed is the surrounding political environment. Just last week we saw ‘super september’ with the G20, Major Economies Forum and the UN general Assembly all talking about climate change. Whilst bunkers remains a marginal issue (despite what others may say, the sectors collectively only represent about 3% of global emissions), this new political climate means that Copenhagen is the best chance of making progress on climate change as a whole and by extension, bunkers. The challenge is to move beyond our traditional position based posturing and actually start listening and thinking creatively about solving a ‘wicked problem’ that brings together a global environmental issue, global trade (and therefore development), global equity and equality and individual travel choices. I’m still hopeful…