The European Commission will propose a measure to monitor, verify and report on greenhouse-gas emissions from the shipping sector in early 2013, the European Commission announced today (1 October).
However, Connie Hedegaard, the climate-action commissioner, and Siim Kallas, the transport commissioner, stopped short of saying whether they will propose to include emissions from ships in the EU’s emissions-trading scheme (ETS). The ETS directive requires the Commission to propose legislation to curb shipping emissions if an agreement has not been reached at international level by the end of 2012.
Negotiations are ongoing at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to create a global system for reducing shipping emissions, either through creating a global cap-and-trade market mechanism or through a fuel tax.
The announcement by the commissioners is probably intended to put pressure on the international negotiations, without going as far as proposing an EU-only market mechanism just yet.
In their statement, the commissioners noted that setting up a monitoring mechanism for emissions is the first step toward a possible future market mechanism, such as inclusion of shipping in the ETS. “At EU level, we consider [sic] several options, including market-based mechanisms,” they said in a joint statement. “We will continue the debate with stakeholders on which measure can successfully address the EU’s greenhouse-gas reduction objectives.”
The environmental campaign groups T&E and Seas at Risk reacted with disappointment to the news. “Emissions monitoring doesn’t address the main issue at stake: reducing GHG [greenhouse-gas] emissions from ships,” they said in a joint statement. “The EU has thus far not taken any measures to tackle GHGs from the shipping sector, and progress within the International Maritime Organization on a global market-based measure has stalled amid arguments over technology transfer and global climate change policy.”
The campaigners called for a decision as soon as possible from the Commission on whether to include shipping in the ETS, saying pressure must be maintained on the IMO negotiations.
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