EU Emissions Trading Scheme may include shipping

Bendt Bendtsen: “ETS will miss the intended climate target and runs the risk of derailing the IMO process” Photo: Johannes Jansson/Norden.org CC-BY-2.5-DK Bendt Bendtsen: “ETS will miss the intended climate target and runs the risk of derailing the IMO process” Photo: Johannes Jansson/Norden.org CC-BY-2.5-DK

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has called for the inclusion of maritime transport into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), a move which has not gone down well with the industry.

During the vote, Environment MEPs chose to take the opposite view from the Industry Committee, voting to include shipping in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) by 2023, should no global IMO agreement be in operation by 2021.

It’s a move which The Danish Shipowners’ Association says demonstrates that MEPs still choose regionalism over global progress and goes against the advice of the European Parliament’s Industry Committee, which voted to keep shipping out only a month ago.

“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,” he added.

Meanwhile, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), is in agreement that a unilateral decision by the European Union to incorporate international shipping into the ETS will impede current discussions on additional CO2 reduction measures at the IMO.

Simon Bennett, ICS director of policy and external relations, said: “ICS is confident that IMO Member States, most of which are developing nations, will adopt a CO2 reduction strategy in 2018 that will include ambitious CO2 reduction goals and the development of a mechanism for delivery. But threats of EU unilateral action will do nothing to help this complex process.”

ICS said that emissions trading, which has been developed primarily for industries such as power generation and cement and steel production, is completely inappropriate for international shipping which mostly comprises SMEs typically operating less than 10 ships.

The organisation said it is working closely with the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) to persuade the plenary of the European Parliament to reject the EP Environment Committee's report.

The plenary of the European Parliament is expected to vote on the Committee's report in early 2017. 

The European Parliament’s call for inclusion in ETS comes at a pivotal time where shipping will need to reduce emissions in pace with the rest of the world to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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