The pressure on Europe to take action on shipping’s climate emissions is building after the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) decided last month to delay by at least a further seven years any decision on a global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from ships. Leading members of the European Parliament called the delay an abject failure by national governments and the shipping industry.
The Paris Agreement’s objectives cannot be achieved without action to address rapidly growing emissions from international aviation and shipping, however these emissions sit outside of national targets. At the conclusion of COP21, the two UN agencies which regulate these sectors (ICAO for aviation and IMO for shipping) promised big action in 2016. Did they deliver? The event will consider what progress, if any, was made this year, what impact it may have on these sectors and what needs to happen now.
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 European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted overwhelmingly today to support and strengthen some elements of the Commission’s proposal for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of shipping emissions. Transport & Environment welcomes the inclusion of the air pollutant NOx in the monitoring measure. However, MEPs rejected the chance to use ship efficiency as an accurate measure of emissions, which is the key to improving the sector’s environmental performance.
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.
Advanced emissions monitoring of large ships calling at EU ports could help save owners and operators of large ships up to €9 million/year, according to a new study published by environmental NGOs Transport & Environment and Seas at Risk. These savings would come from lower operational costs of using automated systems such as fuel flow meters or continuous emissions monitoring, which are already used by many of the world’s largest shipping companies.
This comment by Aoife O'Leary was first published by the European Voice. During the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit, it is worth remembering that there is one huge industry that has so far managed to evade any formalised efforts at emissions reductions. Every industry and transport sector in the European Union has greenhouse-gas emissions reduction measures in place, except for the shipping sector. The EU has established goals on the emissions reductions it wants to achieve from the sector, but seems to have no intention of enacting anything that will bring it anywhere near those goals, anytime soon.
In this letter to Russia's Permanent Representative to the European Union, Transport & Environment expresses its opposition to the expansion of oil drilling activity in the Arctic and the resulting increase in shipping. T&E also calls for the immediate release of 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists being detained in Russia following a protest against Arctic drilling.
The commercial viability of new Arctic shipping routes has been played down by the head of the world’s biggest container line.