Efforts to remove one of the main causes of air pollution and acid rain from shipping have been boosted by a vote in the European Parliament. MEPs on the environment committee have approved draft rules to reduce the sulphur content of marine fuels. The changes now have to be confirmed by environment ministers and by the full Parliament.
On 16 February 2012 the environment committee of the European Parliament will vote on a proposal to limit the sulphur content in fuels used by ships in EU seas. This briefing gives an overview of the key issues at stake.
This publication by AirClim, Seas At Risk, Bellona Foundation, North Sea Foundation, Transport & Environment and the European Environmental Bureau provides readers with the state of the art on air pollution from shipping and analyses the measures needed to significantly reduce it.
Requiring ships to slow down is an environmentally beneficial option that is both legal and does not damage ships. These were just some of the findings to emerge from a seminar earlier this month organised by T&E and another NGO, Seas at Risk.
It seemed the wrong way round when the Commission came under heavy lobby-fire earlier this year over the issue of new sulphur limits for marine fuel. Typically when it comes to international areas like shipping, industry lobbyists always call for an international agreement instead of European legislation. Since these international bodies tend to work extremely slowly that usually means nothing really happens for the next 10 or 20 years, but in this case that was not true. In 2008 the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) agreed some fairly substantial air pollution rules. And now the shipping industry is calling on European policy-makers to ignore the agreement and set their own – weaker – standards.