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EU Vote Sets Deadline for Global Solution On CO2 for Maritime Transport

16th February 2017
By 2023, IMO should introduce the necessary target and measures to bend down the CO2 emissions curve. By 2023, IMO should introduce the necessary target and measures to bend down the CO2 emissions curve. Credit: EU /EPSO

#EUonCo2 - The European Parliament voted in favour yesterday of the inclusion of CO2 emissions from shipping in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and the establishment of a maritime climate fund “in the absence of progress at international level” as from 2023.

Climate change being a global challenge and shipping being a global industry, European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) strongly believes that IMO is by far the right place to introduce CO2 target and measures to reduce emissions from shipping in line with the Paris Agreement.

In that respect, ESPO believes that the roadmap agreed at the IMO MEPC meeting last October is a starting point for the discussions. On the basis of available scientific evidence, the IMO needs to strengthen its efforts and submit an initial reduction target to the stock-take process of the Paris Agreement in 2018 accompanied by short-term measures. By 2023, IMO should introduce the necessary target and measures to bend down the CO2 emissions curve.

ESPO believes that a 6-year period until EU measures are put in place, is sufficient time for the IMO to discuss and agree on the necessary target and measures. 2023 must therefore be seen as a milestone. In case this deadline is not met, EU measures will have to be introduced. It should however be clear that in case of an international agreement by 2023, the EU measures are to be repealed.

“The Paris Agreement has delivered tremendous results due to the international cooperation and the active engagement of developing and developed countries. As climate change is a global threat and shipping an international sector, it’s clear that a regional approach is not preferable. The IMO is by far the right place to introduce a target and measures for shipping emissions. Today’s vote in Parliament should be seen as an encouragement for a global solution, given that the foreseen deadline of 2023 is respected. If, however, the IMO will not deliver an emissions reduction target and measures to implement it by 2023, an EU approach seems unavoidable. We therefore hope that the IMO will speed up the process and demonstrate the same level of ambition when addressing climate change as it did on the global air pollution cap agreed last October”, says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

Ports, coastal cities and their local communities are amongst the most vulnerable to extreme weather conditions resulting from global warming. Under the Paris Agreement all countries and all sectors of the economy need to take immediate action and to contribute to keeping the increase of the global temperature well below 2°C.

The EU and national climate measures that are currently being developed to implement the Paris Agreement, will oblige ports to reduce the carbon footprint of their land-based activities. These efforts should be accompanied by measures covering emissions generated at sea. The environmental reputation of the maritime and port sector is at stake.

Last October, IMO MEPC 70 agreed on a roadmap towards the development of a comprehensive strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. 2018 has been set as a milestone for defining an initial IMO strategy. This initial strategy will allow international shipping to take part in the first stock-taking meeting under the Paris Agreement in 2018 where all national reduction targets will be tested for being fit for purpose. This initial strategy would subsequently be adjusted based on the analysis of available data, and a revised strategy envisaged for spring 2023 will be finally adopted. The roadmap does not however make any commitment to setting an initial emissions reduction target as part of the strategy.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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