Shipping and aviation are subject to the Paris Agreement, legal analysis shows

October 12, 2021

Contrary to industry claims, shipping and aviation are included in the global agreement to limit global warming to 2°C

Currently there is confusion as to whether all shipping and aviation emissions are within the scope of the Paris Agreement, as these emissions are released beyond national borders.
Some argue that the Paris Agreement articulates “economy-wide absolute emission reduction”, which clearly encompasses these sectors as vital parts of national economies. Others, including the International Chamber of Shipping, believe that these sectors are not subject to Paris because they are not specifically mentioned.
The legal briefing, commissioned by T&E, shows that contrary to industry claims, shipping and aviation are included in the Paris Agreement. The legal analysis was carried out by Estelle Dehon, a lawyer from Hausfelds.
Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the central pillar of the Paris Agreement is a temperature goal. Parties are obligated to implement “economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets”, that is, to control anthropogenic emissions so that global warming is limited to well below 2°C. A failure to address all anthropogenic emissions – including international shipping and aviation – would violate the central aim of the Agreement. T&E calls on states to revise their NDCs to take into account all their shipping and aviation emissions.

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