This blogpost was first published in EurActiv.The UNFCCC negotiating text took an important step forward last week with the inclusion in the text of wording calling for the setting of emission reduction targets for international shipping and aviation, in the context of the objective of the agreement – which is to limit any temperature increase to 2 degrees.
In the final years of negotiations for the new climate agreement, it’s still not clear if it will include the fastest growing emissions sources — international aviation and shipping, also known as bunker fuels.
All shipping companies calling at EU ports will, for the first time, have to measure and publicly report ships’ energy performance, including carbon emissions, under a law approved by the European Parliament’s environment committee and EU environment ministers. But the regulation, which still requires the support of the Parliament plenary, only monitors fuel consumption instead of directly reducing it, and only covers CO2 and not air pollutants like SO2 or NOx.
The decision at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to recommend to its environment committee a definition of black carbon arrived at by scientific consensus, after four years of debate, has been welcomed by environmental NGO Transport & Environment. Lack of agreement at sub-committee level had been holding up technical work to calibrate and test black carbon measurement methods that could be used to evaluate control measures as well as monitoring and engine certification technology.
The latest round of climate talks concluded in Lima last month with a sense that some of the basics have been agreed to set the foundations of a global agreement in Paris next year. While the final outcome fell short of expectations, all parties seem to have accepted in principal the need to curb their emissions to keep an increase in global temperature below 2C. However, the two international sectors, aviation and shipping - the emissions of which have not been allocated to parties - seem to be the exception.
For the first time, all shipping companies calling at EU ports will have to measure and publicly report carbon emissions under a law approved by an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee today. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) says that the law is weak – it only monitors fuel consumption instead of directly reducing it, and only covers CO2 and not air pollutants like SO2 or NOx – but it can still trigger fuel savings indirectly.
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.
Transport & Environment, Seas at Risk and Carbon War Room are urging the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) not to withhold data on ship efficiency and fuel consumption. The call for action follows moves by some industry groups to undermine initiatives at the IMO and EU level that would make efficiency performance publicly available and require ships to report and publicise their energy efficiency data.
Efforts to improve air quality at sea have been boosted by the decision of the Danish government to spend DKK 7 million (around €940,000) on making sure ships observe the regulations aimed at guaranteeing clean air. The money will be used for controls to make sure all ships comply with air quality legislation.