IMO Cautions Against Extending EU-ETS to Shipping

Including shipping in the European Union’s Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) could undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping on a global basis, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim said in a letter to senior European officials.

Lim acknowledged that the EU had an ambitious policy for addressing emissions and recognised that Member States might wish to enhance the progress made to date. However, he cautioned against extending the EU-ETS to include ships.

“I am concerned that a final decision to extend the EU-ETS to shipping emissions would not only be premature but would seriously impact on the work of IMO to address GHG emissions from international shipping. Inclusion of emissions from ships in the EU-ETS significantly risks undermining efforts on a global level,” Lim said.

The letter follows an agreement on December 16, 2016 by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee that emissions from ships should be included in the (EU-ETS) from 2023, if IMO does not deliver a further global measure to reduce GHG emissions for international shipping by 2021.

In October 2016, IMO adopted a system for collecting data on ships’ fuel-oil consumption which will be mandatory and will apply globally. This will be the first in a three-step approach leading to an informed decision on whether any further measures are needed to enhance energy efficiency and address GHG emissions from international shipping. If so, policy options would then be considered.

IMO also approved a “roadmap” for developing a comprehensive strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, which foresees an initial GHG strategy being adopted in 2018.

These measures were agreed, by consensus, by IMO Member States, including EU Member States.

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