MEPs Push for Shipping to be Included in Emissions Trading System Toward 2030 Reduction Target

Thursday September 15, 2016

Environmental group Transport & Environment (T&E) has welcomed news that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have given support to a proposal for the inclusion of shipping emissions in the European Union's (EU's) 2030 emissions reduction target through the emissions trading system (ETS).

T&E has been one of the more vocal groups criticizing what it says is a lack of progress by the industry on reducing it's overall emissions.

The proposed amendment would see shipowners buy ETS allowances from 2021 onwards, or pay an equivalent amount into a new climate fund intended to minimise administrative burden through the collective purchase of allowances.

"Time is of the essence and the shipping industry has an important role to play in this transition. In setting up a climate fund for shipping allowances, the EU will help industry cut global-warming emissions in a sustainable way by investing 20 percent of the revenues in green projects for ships and ports," said Jytte Guteland, Socialists and Democrats (S&D) MEP.

The proposal, which was tabled through the parliamentary groups of S&D, Greens, and the liberals (ALDE), is said to also have the support of the European People's Party (EPP).

The fund is said to function as a flow-back mechanism through the reinvestment of 20 percent of the allowances' revenues to be used toward improving shipping industry and port efficiency.

As such, new financing from the system is expected to be used to support retrofitting, innovative technologies, and port charging schemes for the reduction of emissions - funding T&E estimates would initially amount to approximately €1 billion ($1.1267 billion).

"This is really about reducing emissions from international shipping, the only transport sector not contributing to climate goals in Europe. Since the IMO work can take years to propose, our duty is to make sure that Europe takes action," said Green MEP Bas Eickhout.

"This is also an opportunity to increase post-Paris EU climate ambition by making EU's reduction target economy-wide."

In February, T&E, along with Seas At Risk and members of the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC), said the 1.5/2°C global warming limit agreed to during the COP 21 climate summit and Paris "will be impossible to meet" unless the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and Europe implement emission reduction measures for the shipping industry.