EU Environment Committee Makes Waves with Call to Include Shipping into Emissions Trading Scheme

Image Courtesy: IMO

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has called for the inclusion of maritime transport into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2023 if the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) does not deliver a global deal by 2021.

The Environment Committee MEPs agreed to align the start of shipping in the ETS with the date by which the IMO promised to deliver a global deal.

The vote to include maritime transport into the revised ETS went against the advice of the European Parliament’s Industry Committee, which voted to keep shipping out, only a month ago, the Danish Shipowners’ Association said, adding that the association regrets that MEPs chose regionalism over global progress.

The deadlines included in the vote show lack of understanding of the international climate road map warns MEP Bendt Bendtsen from the Christian-Democratic group, EPP.

“By calling for an ETS for shipping in case no international system operates by 2021, my colleagues have unfortunately chosen to cave in to regionalism and ignore the long-term impact for European growth and the environment. With only a small part of global shipping touching EU ports, ETS will miss the intended climate target and runs the risk of derailing the IMO process,”  said Bendt Bendtsen (EPP, DK), Member of the Industry Committee.

“I can only say that the Industry Committee stands firmly behind its call for shipping to be addressed internationally, otherwise it may well lead to cargo being transshipped outside of Europe with direct impacts on European employment. I will personally follow the regulatory developments at regional and international level very closely.”

On the other hand, the sustainable transport group Transport & Environment has said that the vote to include shipping into ETS is fair and will help ensure ships do not undermine climate action in other industries.

Faig Abbasov, shipping and aviation officer at T&E, said: “When the choices were between sailing towards oblivion or having ships and planes account for at least some of their climate impact, environment committee MEPs chose the latter. It also sends a clear message to the global aviation and shipping bodies that the time for weak or no action has long gone. Why should we let ships and planes do nothing while we regulate every other industry’s emissions?”

The Parliament plenary will vote on its position next year. Negotiations between Parliament and national governments will then begin, with the aim of reaching an agreement on reform of the ETS by the end of 2017.

“With much uncertainty hanging over ICAO and IMO, the European Parliament has acted decisively to ensure these sectors will be subject to effective climate measures. Council should now follow the Parliament’s lead, and ensure climate ambition is not entirely outsourced to two agencies with long records of inaction,” Abasov said.

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