Press Release

MEPs throw ship NOx monitoring overboard

April 16, 2014

Today MEPs voted to reject a proposal to monitor nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from shipping, which is set to overtake all land-based sources by 2020. Transport & Environment says EU governments must not waste this unique opportunity to monitor two of the most harmful air pollutants, NOx and sulphur (SOx), as part of the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of shipping emissions proposal.

Air pollution from international shipping, of which SOx and NOx emissions are a big part, accounts for about 50,000 premature deaths per year in Europe [1]. MEPs today rejected the Environment Committee’s amendment to add NOx to the MRV requirement to report CO2.
The Environment Committee had already excluded sulphur reporting, a move which flies in the face of tough new SOx regulations that enter force in 2015. In addition, MEPs also rejected the chance to monitor ship efficiency, which is a key enabler to improve the sector’s environmental performance.
Aoife O’Leary, T&E policy officer for shipping, said: “Inexplicably, Liberal MEPs rejected their own policy recommendations to include NOx and joined others in seriously undermining emissions monitoring. Given that NOx from shipping in Europe is set to exceed all land-based sources by 2020, it is a serious setback to the health and environment of Europeans.”
The vote follows EU states succumbing to pressure from Russia and others at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to delay the start of NOx emissions control areas, which require an 80% cut in NOx from new ships sailing in specially designated zones.
Aoife O’Leary added: “Shipping emissions monitoring is a clever and cost-effective way to report all air pollutants, including SOx and NOx, at once. But the Parliament’s decision is short sighted, and member states must now ensure that Europe includes these emissions if its monitoring proposal is to be worth while.”

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