• Charge on Nitrogen Oxides could make major difference to environmental performance of ships

    A new study has said introducing a charge on nitrogen oxides emissions could cut around 270 000 tonnes of emissions from ships in the Baltic Sea in 2015, a reduction of 60% based on currently expected levels.

    NOx causes several major environmental and health problems on land and at sea, and ships account for a large and growing share. If no action is taken, NOx emissions from shipping around Europe will equal or exceed total NOx from all land-based sources in the 27 EU member states combined.

    Last year, the International Maritime Organisation strengthened its emission standards for new ships, but the new standards will only apply to new ships, and with ships having a life of around 25-35 years, any reductions will take a long time to happen.

    The new study, co-sponsored by T&E, analyses several types of economic instruments including emissions charging and trading. It concludes that an emissions charge would be the most effective way of limiting the growth in ships’ NOx emissions in the short term, and also reducing them.

    Norway has a charge very similar to the one being advocated. It charges €470 per tonne of NOx, and revenues are recycled to the shipping industry and used to finance NOx-reduction projects.