The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has said it is “disappointed, but not surprised” by the European Parliament's vote to propose that international shipping (including non-EU flag ships) should be incorporated into the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) from 2023.
The proposal will see shipowners buy ETS allowances from 2023 onwards or pay an equivalent amount into a new maritime climate fund. The fund will minimise administrative burden by buying allowances on the sector’s behalf and reinvesting the revenues to make ships and ports cleaner and more efficient. The measure will only enter into effect if the International Maritime Organisation does not agree global action by 2023.
“This vote for a unilateral, regional measure 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,” said ICS director of policy and external relations, Simon Bennett.
ICS says it is working with the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) in order to persuade EU member states and the European Commission to reject these proposals, in view of their support for a global solution at IMO.
Meanwhile, NGO Transport & Environment welcomed the reforms as both a much needed first move to kickstart maritime climate action. The sustainable transport group called on EU governments to support the amendments to the ETS in the coming trilogue negotiations.
IMO adopted technical regulations as long ago as 2011 that will ensure that all ships built in eight years’ time will be at least 30% more CO2 efficient than most of the fleet operating today, and the global shipping sector has already reduced its total CO2 emissions despite an increase in global trade. A 10% reduction over a five year period was recorded by the 2014 IMO Green House Study, which is the latest available data.