Time to steer shipping into the EU carbon market

(EurActiv, 22 Nov 2019) The UN shipping body’s failure to agree on immediate climate measures means the incoming European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, must make good of her promise to include the maritime sector under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), aruges Sam Van den plas.

Sam Van den plas is policy director at Carbon Market Watch, an NGO advocating for fair and effective climate action

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) last week once again postponed decisions on concrete and immediate measures, such as reducing the speed of ships, to address the sector’s climate impact.

Last year, the 173 member countries of the IMO agreed that the sector would aim to decarbonise by 2050, and committed to implementing immediate measures to help reach this goal.

Reducing speed by just 20% would reduce greenhouse gas pollution from ships by up to 34% and black carbon emissions – the second most important pollutant from shipping after CO2 – by 20%. The CO2 savings alone are equivalent to closing down 48 coal-fired power plants.

The European Union has said that it would include the sector in the EU carbon market – which regulates emissions from the power sector, industry and airlines – by 2023 if the UN agency was judged to have made insufficient progress. The transport Commissioner-designate Adina-Ioana Vălean repeated this in the European Parliament just a day before the IMO meeting ended last week.

If there was ever any doubt, it should now be clear that the IMO is not doing enough.

Shipping emits almost a gigatonne of greenhouse gas pollution a year, which is more than all European road transport emissions.

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EurActiv, 22 Nov 2019: Time to steer shipping into the EU carbon market