• T&E calls for EU action after latest IMO failure to tackle ships

    T&E has called on the Commission to start EU action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants from ships following the latest failure of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to take concrete action.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]Emissions from shipping and aviation were left out of the Kyoto protocol, with responsibility passing to the IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao). Yet little has happened in either body, and earlier this month the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) ordered another study instead of proposing concrete action.

    “The IMO has an excellent record in commissioning reports and setting up committees,” said T&E policy officer João Vieira, referring to the MEPC’s decision to commission a study into the shipping industry’s contribution to CO2 emissions. “But when it comes to cutting emissions and combating climate change, it has manifestly failed to deliver on its mandate.

    “Ships are the second-fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, with only aviation’s growing faster. Having waited 10 years for action at IMO level, the EU must now take the lead and deliver policies to cut emissions.”

    In 2003, EU member states asked the Commission to propose an EU option for reducing emissions from ships if the IMO did not produce a proposal by the end of 2006. No such proposal has yet appeared, but the Commission says it will produce a maritime strategy in October.

    Responding to Brussels’ discussion document issued last autumn, MEPs this month called for the shipping sector to be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), an idea that did not feature in the original document but has since been floated by the Commission.

    The MEPs’ resolution also calls for several measures to tackle air pollution. These include NOx emissions stan-dards for ships using EU ports, stricter limits on the permitted sulphur content of marine fuels, taxes or charges on SO2 and NOx emissions from ships, and the introduction of differentiated port charges favouring ships with low levels of SO2 and NOx.

    • The MEPC session also saw efforts by China and India to weaken proposals for a global ship recycling scheme. The two said they wanted voluntary measures instead of the proposed mandatory auditing scheme for authorised ship-breaking yards. No decision was taken on a final wording.

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