EU to present plan to reduce ship emissions

19 September 2012 (Last Updated September 19th, 2012 18:30)

The European Union (EU) has announced that it is planning to present a proposal in the coming months to reduce ship emissions, in the absence of an international solution.

The European Union (EU) has announced that it is planning to present a proposal in the coming months to reduce ship emissions, in the absence of an international solution.

According to Bloomberg, the head of the European Commission’s international carbon market unit Elina Bardram said that although the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the best entity to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, it has been slow to act.

"We are including different types of measures, ranging from measurement, reporting and verification, to technical standards, to setting baselines," Bardram said. "The ETS-type schemes are part of the options that are being considered."

According to the EU, global maritime transport accounts for about 3% of carbon dioxide pollution, and ship emissions are expected to more than double by 2050.

"We will not introduce a maritime proposal that would be discriminatory or would result in distortions," said Bardram. "We are responsible and at the same time we have to ensure that the European industry has a level playing field and that we’re able to incentivise early actions, that we can make things happen."

The chairman of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee Andreas Chrysostomou said that the organisation recognises the urgency of reducing greenhouse gases from shipping.

Chrysostomou said the agency has already introduced mandatory efficiency measures, as well as forming a group to evaluate proposals on market-based mechanisms, and the organisation wants to continue their development in 2013.

Earlier in September, the European Parliament approved legislation to cut sulphur levels in shipping fuel used by all vessels in EU waters from the current 3.5% to 0.5% by 2020.

The EU has also adopted an International Maritime Organization (IMO) accord that will lower the sulphur content of shipping fuel used in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel – Europe’s ‘sulphur emissions control areas’ (SECAs) – to 0.1% by 2015 from current 1%.