· MEPs also back tightening cap on aviation emissions.Support from ports and cargo owners for last week’s vote by MEPs to include shipping emissions in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) has been sharply criticised by shipowners. The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) said it ‘deplores’ the shipping industry’s backing for Europe regulating ship CO2 as a ‘first move’ to kick start action at global level. Shipping in Europe has CO2 emissions equal those of the Netherlands.
The pressure on Europe to take action on shipping’s climate emissions is building after the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) decided last month to delay by at least a further seven years any decision on a global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from ships. Leading members of the European Parliament called the delay an abject failure by national governments and the shipping industry.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
The most effective way to reduce carbon emissions from shipping is also the most economic. That is the message from a new study commissioned by T&E and Seas at Risk (SAR) that looks at monitoring and reducing maritime emissions. It says ship operators could save €5-9 million a year if they invested in 21st-century technology.
The commercial viability of new Arctic shipping routes has been played down by the head of the world’s biggest container line.
The amount of ice in the Arctic has shrunk again, leading scientists to speculate that the North Pole could be completely ice-free in summer by the middle of this century.
Hong Kong could become the host to Asia’s first marine emissions control area. The chief executive of the city says he wants to create a ‘green port’ in the Pearl River Delta, once he has achieved his aim of making it obligatory for all ships in the delta to use low-sulphur fuel. The plan has the support of the Hong Kong ship owners, and the city’s policy institute Civic Exchange described it as ‘a major policy breakthrough in ship emissions control’. Comments from the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen also supported the idea of a ‘green port’ as part of efforts to develop a low-carbon Chinese economy.
The ‘Durban Platform’ may become as commonly known as the Kyoto Protocol, following a loose agreement at this month’s Durban climate change summit on a plan to work towards a global climate strategy. The plan is to agree the strategy by 2015 and for it to start in 2020.