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European Parliament approves CO2 reporting regulations Featured

The European Parliament has approved draft EU rules requiring ship owners using EU ports to monitor and report CO2 emissions each year.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The new rules will apply from 2018 to ships over 5,000 gross tons, regardless of the country in which they are registered, with the aim of cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

The new monitoring and reporting criteria will now be put to a vote in a forthcoming Council of Ministers meeting in order to come into force on 1 July 2015, with the regulations having already been informally agreed with the Council, the EU says.

The text of the Regulation establishes an EU-wide system for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, in order to gather better information about ship efficiency and emissions and to encourage a reduction in emissions and fuel consumption.

“Maritime transport does not come under any greenhouse-gas emissions reduction measures,” said José Inácio Faria, who drafted the second reading recommendation approved by the European Parliament.

“What we are looking at today is a first step to reduce emissions. If nothing is done, shipping emissions will go up by about 50 per cent by 2030.”

“This legislation is applicable to all ships using European ports, and will be an opportunity to influence negotiations within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). We need to make sure that cooperation with our international partners is kept to, and make sure these steps give rise to an ambitious international agreement.”

The MRV requirements will apply to CO2 emissions arising from voyages to, from and between EU ports. All ships over 5,000 gross tons will be covered, with a small number of exceptions.

Ship efficiency, measured in relation to the amount of cargo carried, will have to be reported for all categories of ships, with detailed specific rules to be introduced for each ship category.

Where an owner’s report on ship emissions meets the requirements, an independent verifier will be required to deliver a document certifying compliance. Ships will have to carry these documents on board and will be subject to inspection by EU member states, who will also establish penalties for infringements.

This move by the EU was met with dismay by some in the maritime industry, with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO and Intercargo jointly issuing a statement expressing their dissatisfaction with the results of the vote, preferring a global IMO solution instead of a regional EU measure.

“Today’s vote was expected, being based on the political agreement reached between the EU institutions at the end of last year. However, the shipping industry is still disappointed by the Parliament’s confirmation of the EU decision to pre-empt the current International Maritime Organization (IMO) negotiations on a global data collection system on shipping’s CO2 emissions by adopting a unilateral, regional Regulation on the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of individual ship emissions – which will also apply to non-EU flag ships trading to Europe – in advance of IMO completing its work,” the statement says.

“Until now, with the industry’s support, the IMO negotiations have been progressing well. But there is a danger that the EU initiative will be seen by non-EU nations as an attempt to present them with a fait accompli. The EU Regulation includes controversial elements, such as the publication of commercially sensitive data on individual ships, an idea which had previously been rejected by the majority of IMO governments during a meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in October 2014.”

“At the IMO, negotiations on additional measures to help reduce CO2 continue at the MEPC in two weeks’ time. It will be vital for EU Member States to explain how the new EU Regulation can be implemented in a way which is fully compatible with whatever might be agreed by IMO for global application, in the interests of avoiding the unhelpful complication of a separate regional regime.”

The group of shipping associations also notes that unilateral action already taken by the maritime industry has had a positive effect on emissions trends, with the latest IMO Green House Gas Study, published in 2014, showing that international shipping had reduced its total CO2 emissions by more than 10 per cent between 2007 and 2012, despite an increase in maritime trade.{/mprestriction}

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