Towards a strong and reliable ship emissions monitoring system

The EU has been on record for several years that it would take regional action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, if no global agreement had been reached at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) by the end of 2011.

After a series of public consultations meetings in 2011 the Commission indicated it was considering a number of options to cut shipping emissions, such as a fuel or carbon levy, a compensation fund or inclusion of the maritime sector in the ETS. However, on 1 October 2012, European Commissioners Hedegaard and Kallas announced that the Commission would
first propose monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions as a starting point towards a more comprehensive system to reduce emissions. This announcement was a great disappointment to the environmental community as it de facto postpones action to effectively address the issue of shipping emissions. However it can serve as an opportunity to establish a harmonised approach towards ship emissions measurement.

Although a significant number of ship-owners are already voluntarily monitoring the efficiency of their fleet, there is currently no legal requirement in Europe for ship-owners to keep track of their vessels’ direct fuel consumption and communicate this data to port state authorities.
The precise requirements to be contained in the EU MRV scheme are not yet known. The legislative proposal is not expected before the first quarter of 2013.

This paper highlights some important aspects to be taken into account when developing a reliable emissions monitoring system and it investigates different options.

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