• Brussels hints at including shipping in ETS

    The Commission has given a new hint that it is running out of patience with the International Maritime Organisation’s ability to tackle shipping’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

    In an unusually undiplomatic comment at an industry seminar in Brussels earlier this month, the EC’s top environment official Mogens Peter Carl said the EU was ‘fed up of waiting for Godot’ and criticised industry lobbyists of ‘playing ping pong’ to avoid action.

    The Commission is known to be considering including shipping in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) but would still prefer the IMO to come up with a system that covers the whole world. ‘We would prefer to see a truly international system,’ Carl said, adding in a reference to Samuel Beckett’s play about a character who never appears, ‘but we are fed up of waiting for Godot,’

    Carl was fiercely critical of the IMO, saying it was ‘miles and miles’ away from a multilateral agreement on CO2 emissions. He said opponents of emissions trading were ‘playing ping pong between the IMO and the United Nations’, saying in one organisation that only the other had the competence to act.

    ‘Let us pray and hope that the IMO will find an effective solution by early 2009,’ Carl added, ‘otherwise there is the supreme threat that the Eurocrats will get into this. You might not like what will come out of that.’

    The environment commissioner Stavros Dimas told MEPs last month the Commission would present proposals for adoption in 2009 ‘if there is no significant progress towards a global agreement’.