Ship emissions reporting ‘must be stepping stone to CO2 target’

Shipping users will for the first time be granted access to transparent data that identifies the most efficient ships and practices, under a law approved by the European Parliament in full today. The public disclosure of fuel efficiency data will enhance competition for the best ships and routes, which in turn will trigger market forces that will result in fuel savings. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) said the measure is a stepping stone to CO2 targets that will start delivering much-needed cuts to shipping’s ever-growing emissions.

The Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) regulation will require ship operators to publicly report information on the environmental performance of ships. [1] Cargo owners and ship operators have been crying out for efficiency data – some already adhere to a similar yet voluntary ‘Clean Shipping Index’ – as the more cargo a ship can carry using the same amount of fuel, the more efficient, cleaner and cheaper the service. [2]

But fuel efficiency improvements will be offset by the increase in transport demand. In its latest greenhouse gas (GHG) study the UN’s shipping body, the IMO, projects a 50 to 250% rise in shipping emissions by 2050. [3]

Sotiris Raptis, clean shipping officer at T&E, said: “This law is expected to produce a virtuous circle of increased transparency, increased competition and greater fuel efficiency. But this is where our cheering stops. Given that the sector’s rapid growth is set to outstrip efficiency gains, only CO2 targets under the EU’s 2030 plan and Energy Union can deliver actual emissions cuts.”

EU governments will have an opportunity to support a global CO2 target for the sector when the IMO’s environment committee (MEPC) debates a submission from the Marshall Islands in two weeks time.

“The Marshall Islands, the existence of which is threatened by rising sea levels, has called for a global reduction target on maritime carbon emissions. When the holders of the world’s third largest shipping registry can see the existential threat posed by rising shipping emissions, it’s time for European nations to step up to the plate and support definitive action at the IMO,” Sotiris Raptis concluded.

Currently ships are responsible for over 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If these emissions were reported as a country, maritime transport would be Europe’s eighth largest emitter. According to the latest IMO study on GHG emissions from ships, under a business-as-usual scenario, shipping could represent 10% of global GHG emissions by 2050.


Notes to editors:

[1] The Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) law requires the reporting of three metrics: the theoretical energy performance of the ship known as the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI); its real-world fuel consumption; and its energy efficiency, that is, the amount of fuel divided by the amount of cargo.

[2] If ships are more energy efficient, they will burn less fuel and – as a consequence – emit less carbon dioxide.

[3] International Maritime Organisation, Reduction of GHG emissions from ships – Third IMO GHG Study 2014, (July 2014).

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