[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]João Vieira of T&E, a Brussels-based sustainable transport campaign group said:
"We welcome the fact that the EU is finally waking up to the environmental impact of shipping, the second-fastest growing source of climate-changing CO2 emissions. So far, the international community has manifestly failed in its responsibility to clean up shipping in the decade since Kyoto was signed."
"Emissions trading alone will not be enough to seriously reduce the environmental impact of the sector. The EU's estimates for aviation, also set to be included in the system, suggest that emissions reductions through trading will be offset by less than one year's growth of the industry. With shipping the situation will be similar. We urge the EU to consider other, more effective measures such as differentiated port charges, en-route charges and fuel taxes" said Vieira.
As well as carbon dioxide, shipping is a major source of other air pollutants. By 2020 ships in Europe will be responsible for more emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), responsible for acid rain, than all other sources put together.
Non-CO2 emissions are governed by the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) Marpol Annex VI regulations which are under review this week at a meeting in London. Existing environmental regulations under Marpol Annex VI are extremely weak. For example the maximum sulphur content of fuels is set at 4.5% while the world average for shipping fuel is already 2.7%. Sulphur has been virtually eradicated from petrol and diesel fuels used by road vehicles in Europe.
T&E and a coalition of environmental groups are calling on the IMO to agree a reduction in NOx emission of about 90% for both existing and new ships, no later than 2015; reductions in SOx emissions of 70-90% by 2015 and substantial reductions in particular matter (PM), both through the side-effects of reducing NOx and SOx, but also by working on specific targets for PM in Marpol Annex VI (to be adopted no later than 2009).
The last revision of Marpol Annex VI was agreed at IMO level in 1997 but only entered into force in 2005, a delay of eight years for member states to ratify the new rules. The excessively long time frames and weak ambition levels of international regulations have led T&E and other environmental groups to call for urgent action on shipping pollution at EU-level.
"The IMO has failed to act with the urgency needed to tackle the massive and fast-growing environmental impact of shipping. It is high time Europe took the lead" said Vieira.
João Vieira, Policy Officer, T&E, +32 2 289 1043, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dudley Curtis, Communications Officer, T&E, +32 2 289 1042, email@example.com
Notes to editors:
- Growth of CO2 emissions from shipping in Europe, 1990 - 2004 = 45%;
- The world's international marine fleet of roughly 90,000 vessels were responsible for 3% of global CO2 emissions in 2001;
- 70-80% of all ship emissions occur within 400km of land.