E.U. Wants CO2 Targets


Published Sep 15, 2015 6:47 PM by Wendy Laursen

The heads of seven of the eight political groups of the European Parliament's environment committee have written to the environment ministers of the 28 E.U. countries urging them to include international shipping and aviation in COP21’s global climate deal.

The ministers will be meeting on September 18 to finalize the E.U. position for COP21 – the U.N.’s meeting on climate change scheduled for Paris in December.

The heads of the political groups on the Environment Committee said: "To promote increased climate ambition from ICAO and IMO, like all the other sectors of the global economy, aviation and international shipping require an emissions reduction target. There is no reasonable excuse to continue exempting these two economy sectors from the global policy framework. Aviation and shipping need to contribute in the same way that is required of all UNFCCC Parties, large and small." 

The European Parliament called last week for the establishment of an E.U. 2030 emissions reduction target for shipping and measures for the reduction of ships' speed (slow steaming).

Sotiris Raptis, clean shipping officer at sustainable transport group Transport & Environment, commented: "It's simply fair to demand from two economic sectors with emissions the size of Germany and South Korea to reduce CO2 emissions in line with keeping the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. The IMO and ICAO have been procrastinating so far. The time for action has come."

The IMO’s development of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) are the first-ever international agreements on CO2 emissions in any sector. However, a number of countries still believe that this is insufficient if shipping is going to be able to contribute to actual reductions in CO2 emissions and the 2°C goal of the international climate negotiations. 

Several mechanisms to enhance ships’ operational efficiency have therefore been proposed. DNV GL explains: “These follow a three-stage approach; data collection, the development and testing of an efficiency calculation methodology and the eventual roll-out of the mechanism as a mandatory performance standard. Timelines have not been stipulated, only that each stage will take a number of years.

“The proposals are strongly opposed by a number of parties who believe that developing operational efficiency regulations for ships is neither feasible nor appropriate. Presently, IMO is therefore limited to developing a framework for monitoring and reporting ship fuel consumption data only.”

The IMO’s Green House Gas Study, published in 2014, found that international shipping had reduced its total CO2 emissions by more than 10 percent between 2007 and 2012, despite an increase in maritime trade.

However, maritime CO2 emissions are projected to increase significantly in the coming decades. Depending on future economic and energy developments, study scenarios project an increase of 50 to 250 percent in the period to 2050. 

Emissions projections demonstrate that improvements in efficiency are important in mitigating emissions increase. However, even modelled improvements with the greatest energy savings could not yield a downward trend. Compared to regulatory or market-driven improvements in efficiency, changes in the fuel mix have a limited impact on GHG emissions, assuming that fossil fuels remain dominant.