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NOx emissions from shipping: Where are we? What are the perspectives?

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At its 65th session, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) reached an agreement in principle to postpone the international NOx emissions limits for new ships from 2016 to 2021. This IMO decision needs to be confirmed by vote at the next MEPC meeting in April 2014. This briefing outlines why T&E believes a strict NOx standard for shipping should not be delayed. International shipping is currently responsible for 50,000 premature deaths annually in Europe.

Shipping emissions in the context of a 2°C emissions pathway

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Shipping and aviation represented around 3.2 and 2.1 per cent respectively of global CO2 emissions in the mid-2000s. A wide range of projections and scenarios shows that both sectors are likely to grow over the coming decades with a resultant increase in CO2 emissions by 2050, despite various mitigation efforts. 

Shipping CO2 proposal is ‘business as usual’ in reality

The Commission has published its long-awaited response to the failure by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to tackle shipping’s contribution to global warming – and it has disappointed environmental groups. The proposal, published last month, is to require the largest ocean-going vessels, which are responsible for 90% of all shipping emissions, to monitor, report and verify their emissions of carbon dioxide, but no reference is made to other harmful emissions such as nitrogen or sulphur oxides, and no incentives or requirements to reduce emissions are included.

Commission makes timid first steps towards controlling ship emissions

The European Commission has published today a proposal to monitor, report and verify (MRV) on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping. This measure will apply to all ships calling at EU ports and could to set the baseline for an eventual measure to actually require emissions reductions. Shipping is responsible for over 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and these will double by 2020 if nothing is done to curb them.

Visual tool highlights growth in new Arctic shipping route

The Jefferson Institute, an American research and education body, has developed an interactive visualisation to highlight the growing use of the Northern Sea Route, an Arctic passage that has been opened up by global warming and whose use is growing to the detriment of the marine environment. 

IMO threatens a ‘shameful’ delay on NOx limits

A central element of efforts to tackle pollution from ships has suddenly been threatened to be set back by five years. Last week, the environment committee of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) proposed to delay a measure limiting nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in specifically designated sea areas, from 2016 to 2021. T&E described the delay, which took most observers by surprise, as ‘a disaster’ and ‘a shameful act by the IMO’ that punishes those who have invested in cleaner technology.

IMO opens the door to reduce shipping emissions

Today the member states of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) agreed on a Resolution on technology cooperation, which was delaying the implementation of standards to improve the energy efficiency of new ships. This resolution had been in discussion for two years and was hindering any progress on other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

IMO U-turn jeopardises citizens' health in EU Year of Air

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) today decided to postpone the entry into force of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions limits for ship engines from 2016 to 2021. Environmental NGOs Transport & Environment (T&E) and Seas at Risk, founding members of the IMO observer organisation Clean Shipping Coalition, condemn IMO’s decision and now call on the EU to adopt its own NOx limits for cleaner air.

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