Last year was the one in which it became plain for everyone to see that transport had turned from being the grey sheep to the black sheep in Europe and the world’s efforts to improve the environment.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
The world’s first code of conduct for ships using the newly accessible Arctic shipping routes has been agreed, but environmental groups say it does not go far enough and, without further strengthening, it is just a question of when a serious incident occurs in the Arctic and Antarctic environments.
Curtailing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ships is ‘technically feasible’, according to a new study published ahead of this week’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting that will decide on a proposal to postpone the 2016 introduction of NOx emission control areas at sea.
An International Maritime Organisation (IMO) proposal to delay the start of stricter nitrogen oxide standards would undermine the EU’s air quality goals and should be opposed, the European Commission has said. In April, an IMO committee will decide on whether to postpone the 2016 date for the introduction of stricter NOx emissions standards from new ships operating in NOx control areas (NECAs).
The most effective way to reduce carbon emissions from shipping is also the most economic. That is the message from a new study commissioned by T&E and Seas at Risk (SAR) that looks at monitoring and reducing maritime emissions. It says ship operators could save €5-9 million a year if they invested in 21st-century technology.
The International Maritime Organisation earlier this month reached preliminary agreement on a ‘Polar Code’ of safety and environmental rules for ships in the Arctic and Antarctic. But the final draft contains few meaningful environmental provisions, such as requiring vessels to have strengthened hulls or even operate at reduced speed in supposedly ‘ice-free’ waters.
The Clean Shipping Coalition has warned that a drive to cut paperwork could undermine the effectiveness of environmental regulations. The warning from the coalition of environmental NGOs, including T&E, comes as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) processes the results from a six-month consultation on how to help ship operators and national administrations reduce their administrative costs.
The commercial viability of new Arctic shipping routes has been played down by the head of the world’s biggest container line.
The amount of ice in the Arctic has shrunk again, leading scientists to speculate that the North Pole could be completely ice-free in summer by the middle of this century.