Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Merchant Shipping to be Included in European Emissions Trading Scheme

IMO Must Act Swiftly to Avoid Political Legislation
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – Members of the European Parliament voted to include the shipping sector in the European Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) as part of the EU's plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions and meet its obligations of the Paris Agreement, prompting some strong responses from industry stakeholders.

In a plenary session, MEPs voted that unless a suitable system, operating under the guidance of the IMO to monitor and push for the reduction of CO2 emissions at ports in Europe and on vessels calling at, staying, and departing from EU ports by 2021, the shipping industry will be included in the EU ETS, from 2023, a decision that has angered many in the European shipping industry over concerns that the Scheme will do little to help curb emissions and will hinder any future discussions on the issue.

However many advocates of inclusion say that the industry has gone for too long without sufficient regulation of harmful emissions. Against this shipping industry lobbyists say that over past years it has made it clear that it is actively working to curb greenhouse gases from the sector with the IMO producing a roadmap which defines its tasks and timelines to reduce emissions, which the IMO says is consistent with the timeframe of the Paris Agreement. Secretary General of the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA), Patrick Verhoeven, said:

"Putting unrealistic pressure on IMO with regional measures that will gravely hurt a global sector and do very little for climate is not the way to proceed. It will unduly complicate the achievement of an effective and timely global agreement in IMO that everyone in the end wants. We thank those MEPs that voted against the inclusion of shipping and hope this spirit will prevail in the upcoming trilogue negotiations."

The IMO rarely does anything in a hurry, something we have given voice to many times over the past few years. Like any huge operation which involves multiple countries and interests it has to be said however that, although the wheels may turn slowly, eventually a suitable, well thought out and properly drafted set of regulations ensue. The comments regarding time taken may also often be applied to the politicians who control European legislation.

The IMO’s roadmap complements the decision to have a mandatory global GHG data collection system in place as of 2019. The data collection system will make it possible to define the contribution of international shipping to the climate goals set by COP21 in Paris at the end of 2015. The adoption of an initial strategy to meet the Paris' objectives is already planned for 2018 and an agreement on targets and measures, including an implementation plan, will come about in 2023 once real time data have been analysed.