EU Announces Measures to Monitor GHG

The European Commission has announced today that it will propose, in early 2013, measures to monitor, verify and report on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from shipping. This measure will apply to all ships calling at EU ports and could also be the basis for a global approach towards cleaner shipping. However, green groups are disappointed because emissions monitoring doesn’t address the main issue at stake: reducing GHG emissions from ships.

Environmental NGOs believe that so far the EU has not taken any measures to tackle GHGs from the shipping sector, and progress within the International Maritime Organisation on a global market-based measure has stalled amid arguments over technology transfer and global climate change policy. According to studies invoked by NGOs there is potential to improve the fuel efficiency of shipping, and at least a 20% reduction in emission would be cost-free, but industry barriers are still preventing the adoption of many measures.

Today’s joint Statement by Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas and EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard is as follows:

Shipping is a global industry and needs global solutions to address its environmental footprint. As a result, we are all working towards an internationally agreed global solution to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The International Maritime Organisation made a significant and highly welcome step forward in July 2011 with the Energy Efficiency Design Index. But this measure alone – which is applied only to new ships from 2015 – will not be enough to ensure shipping emissions are reduced fast enough. Discussions about further global measures are on-going at IMO level, but we need intermediary steps to quickly deliver emissions reductions, such as energy efficiency measures also for existing ships.

At EU level, we consider several options, including market-based mechanisms. A simple, robust and globally-feasible approach towards setting a system for monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions based on fuel consumption is the necessary starting point. This will help make progress at global level and feed into the IMO process. It’s therefore our joint intention to pursue such a monitoring, reporting and verification system in early 2013. At the same time, we will continue the debate with stakeholders on which measure can successfully address the EU’s greenhouse gas reduction objectives.

The shipping industry itself is best placed to take the lead in delivering fast and effective greenhouse gas emission reductions – thereby cutting cost and making the sector fit for the future. The Commission is ready to play its part, in the EU and at IMO level.

NGOs Transport & Environment and Seas At Risk call on EU states to proceed quickly to implement this measure and ensure that information on ship efficiency is shared transparently.

Sources: Transport & Environment, European Commission 

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