GbD Principle & Policy

Global but Differentiated means:

Common but Differentiated (UNFCCC) applied Globally to shipping

  1. Any market-based instrument to address Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) from international maritime transport shall be both global (as per the IMO) and differentiated (as per the UNFCCC).
  2. The proposed principle is called global but differentiated.
    • It is for market-based schemes and instruments only, and therefore it does not apply to technical and operational measures.
    • It does not prescribe any specific policy or instrument. Instead, it enables identification of the most appropriate instrument by unlocking the current multilateral impasse.

PLEASE NOTE that during 2009 a new application of the principle above was created. The new concept was based on a rebate mechanism, and was well received by a number of countries. In this version, a developing country is entitled to an unconditional rebate equal to its cost burden from the scheme. It is proposed to calculate the rebate in proportion to a country's share of global (seaborne) imports. Since negotiations in Bangkok, Oct 2009, this is the preferred version. The differentiation based on final destinations of goods will be implicitly delivered through the refund. As some countries could forego the rebate, and be internationally credited for such action, the new version is much more flexible.
Due to pressure of negotiations some information on this website does not fully reflect this preference yet.
Please bear with us, we are focusing on making the proposal a reality not on publicity.

The 2008 proposal is also available as a document: Global but Differentiated Principle and Policy
The key is to agree the GD principle while understanding that a viable policy delivering on the principle exists.

Global but Differentiated Policy (Yes, it is viable)

  1. A differentiation policy based on cargo imported is proposed. It is to apply to all ships, irrespective of flag or nationality.
  2. Only two destinations are defined:
    • Annex-I countries, and
    • Non-Annex I countries.
  3. Destinations are treated as per climate change regime in force. Currently it means:
    • Annex I destinations are included fully.
    • Non Annex I destinations are not included.
  4. A ship transporting goods to both Annex I and non-Annex I countries is partially included.
    • It is included in proportion to the ship’s share of goods unloaded in Annex I countries (destined to Annex I for transhipments).
    • This means that only the Annex I’s share of ship’s CO2 emissions is in scope.
  5. Worldwide, the Annex I share of unloaded goods is 60%. Therefore on day one of a scheme driven by such a policy 60% of maritime emissions will be covered.


    There are three major advantages of the proposed policy:
  1. It will deliver on the nine principles proposed at the IMO for global approach to GHG emissions;
  2. It is compliant with the current and future climate change regimes;
  3. Environmental results will be very high as the goal may be more ambitious as it applies to Annex I only.