European Parliament votes for shipping emissions trading

15 Feb 2017

The European Parliament has today (15 February) voted for shipping to be included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme by 2023, bringing the unpopular move a step closer.

The decision was made as part of a vote on wide changes to improve the ETS, including measures to reduce the oversupply of carbon credits (or allowances). The parliament will now discuss the measures with the European Council, which will then submit a draft of final legislation for parliament to consider.

From next year, the EU regulation on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification will collect data on fuel consumption and transport work from vessels stopping at EU ports. Unless a comparable system from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is implemented by 2021, members of European Parliament agreed that CO2 emissions in EU ports and during voyages to and from them should be accounted for in the ETS.

The IMO’s mandatory CO2 data collection scheme, finalised last year, will be implemented from 1 March 2018. But measures arising from the analysis of that data, and an implementation plan, are only scheduled to be decided in 2023.

MEPs proposed setting up a ‘maritime climate fund’ within the ETS, with funds raised used to compensate for maritime emissions, improve energy efficiency, facilitate investment in innovative technologies and reduce CO2 emissions from the sector.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said it was ‘disappointed but not surprised by the vote’, and urged individual member states to reject the proposal. Simon Bennett, director of policy and external relations, noted: “This vote for a unilateral, regional measure simply risks polarising debate among IMO member states which have already agreed to develop a strategy for reducing shipping’s CO2 emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”

The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) noted that, with the Council of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) discussing the Council’ general approach on the ETS proposal today, negotiations with member states and the European Commission could start relatively soon.

Patrick Verhoeven, secretary general, ECSA, said: "Putting unrealistic pressure on IMO with regional measures that will gravely hurt a global sector and do very little for climate is not the way to proceed. It will unduly complicate the achievement of an effective and timely global agreement in IMO that everyone in the end wants.”