Friday, September 21, 2012

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EU commission wants to regulate shipping emissions; says IMO too slow

The European Union will present a proposal to lower ship emissions on its own if the International Maritime Organization does not come up with a global solution soon, said Elina Bardram, head of the international carbon market unit at the European Commission, at a conference this week.

"We are including different types of measures, ranging from measurement, reporting and verification, to technical standards, to setting baselines. These options are all on the table," Bardram said. "The ETS-type schemes are part of the options that are being considered."

The policy discussions, hosted by the European Policy Centre, comes during a period when the EU has been vocal about its impatience with the IMO and when other factions have questioned what the EU is doing to help.

According to the European Commission, ships arriving at or departing from EU ports account for 6.1 percent of the EU's total emissions and 3 percent of global shipping emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from ships are projected to increase by up to 200 percent by 2050.

During the conference on shipping-related carbon dioxide emissions, Bardram said the IMO process was too slow. The IMO has been unable to develop regulations to curb ship emissions for more than ten years.

Andreas Chrysostomou of the IMO was on hand to defend that agency's Energy Effiency Design Index (EEDI), an effort that has measurably limited long-term emissions.

Peter Hinchliffe of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) questioned whether EU and other governments should interfere at all, calling the impediment to the IMO "entirely political." He urged that Badram publicize the Commission's talks with the IMO and release a proposal rather than merely dog the agency.

"We are desperate to see the analytical process begin," Hinchliffe said. "The technicality of applying an MBM (market-based measures) to 75-80,000 ships is not a small problem. We need time to understand it."

Peter Hemmings, manager for aviation and shipping at Transport and Environment, said the 15 percent decline in emission rates is misleading, and reflects ships sitting idle or running slow due to the economy. He said once business picks up, ships will increase speeds to maximize profit, and emissions will rise again.

The EU emissions trading system is the world's biggest cap- and-trade carbon market. It imposes pollution limits on about 12,000 companies and expanded this year to include flights to and from EU airports.

For more of the Businessweek and New Europe stories: and

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