Shipping climate ambition: ranking of EU member states

The IMO is expected to adopt in April 2018 an Initial GHG Strategy to address shipping’s climate impact. T&E has carried out research to rank EU member states in terms of the ambition of their declared national positions in the run-up to the IMO climate negotiations.

According to our findings Germany, Belgium and France demonstrate the highest level of ambition followed by the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, Denmark, Luxembourg and Finland. The worst 5 performers on the scale are Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Croatia.

EU nations with large registered tonnage perform the worst on climate ambition, with Malta, Greece and Cyprus all receiving almost exclusively negative points. Tonnage represents a source of formal and informal power at the IMO because relative tonnage influences decision-making. Climate champions can use their political power (large tonnage) to drive action, while climate laggards use their tonnage to slow down efforts.

The ranking also suggests a split between Northern EU members demonstrating higher ambition and Southern, and Eastern EU states showing much lower ambition. The only notable exception being Spain in 5th position. Due to its neutral coordinating role as the acting Presidency of the EU Council on shipping matters, the national position of Estonia cannot be reliably evaluated against the other EU countries