• Europe close to going alone on shipping emissions

    Unilateral EU action on harmful emissions from shipping could be just months away, after a senior Commission official gave a strong hint at a seminar organised by T&E.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]Mogens Peter Carl, director-general of the EC’s environment directorate, told the How to Make the Sea Green seminar that the EU will propose its own legislation unless the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) agrees a meaningful set of emissions reduction targets.

    “Time is running out and we are running out of patience,” he said. “If the IMO does not move successfully within a few months, the pressure on the Commission to come forward with proposals for unilateral action will be such that we have to prepare such proposals.”

    Although Carl was speaking about the three main pollutants in shipping (NOx, SO2 and PM), he also talked about greenhouse gases, saying the IMO had failed to come up with any concrete measures in the 10 years since the Kyoto protocol gave it responsibility for shipping’s contribution to global warming.

    “If the IMO doesn’t agree obligatory reductions by 2009,” he added, “the environment directorate will try to persuade the Commission to propose EU measures. An obvious measure would be to include shipping in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.”

    As Bulletin reported in April, Jos Delbeke, the Commission official responsible for the ETS, talked of the EU putting forward proposals for shipping to enter the ETS by the end of this year. While that is now unlikely to happen, unilateral EU action on shipping is clearly high in the Commission’s thinking.

    T&E policy officer João Vieira said: “After years of inaction, the IMO should see that the clock is ticking. If it does not agree on new emissions reduction measures by April, the EU is likely to propose legislation at European level.’

    This news story is taken from the November 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.