In July, the IMO will vote on the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) – an amendment to MARPOL Annex VI, the IMO’s shipping pollution legislation. The EEDI could lead to newly-built ocean ships becoming progressively more efficient by 2030, with associated reductions in CO2 emissions of up to 20% as the fleet is renewed. If adopted, the EEDI would represent the world’s first global mandatory climate instrument for any sector.
But the vote is likely to be very tight as there is opposition from countries such as China and Saudi Arabia who object in principal to global measures that treat all countries equally. In the EU, Hungary, current holders of the EU presidency, as well as the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Malta and Monaco are yet to ratify MARPOL Annex VI, so are not eligible to vote on the EEDI. For that reason, the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC) and the EEB have written to the Hungarian Minister of Rural Development, Sándor Fazekas, to call on Hungary to ratify MARPOL Annex VI and, as current holders of the EU presidency, to urge the other non-ratifying EU countries to do the same.
If the European Union is serious about tackling greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, and is convinced that the appropriate forum for action is the IMO as Climate Commissioners Hedegaard and Transport Kallas pledged earlier this month – it needs to act now. EU member states must move fast to help ensure this first step towards greener shipping is taken.