Friday, December 20, 2013

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Member states: EU's shipping emissions rules must comply with global law

The European Union's rules to regulate and monitor greenhouse gasses from vessels must be in line with international law to prevent disagreements with other countries, according to member states including Italy and Ireland.

Draft rules to introduce monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide from ships, starting in 2018, were discussed by EU environment ministers at a quarterly meeting this week. The European Commission proposed the law to encourage global curbs on maritime pollution tied to climate change.

The shipping emission proposal came after the expansion of the EU carbon cap-and-trade program for international airlines last year, a measure that triggered opposition from countries from the U.S. to China to Russia, and prompted warnings of a trade war.

The draft law on ships doesn't impose any pollution limits and aims to encourage the maritime industry to cut discharges by increasing transparency.

"Ireland supports the objective of the proposed regulation," said Ireland's Environment Minister Phil Hogan. "In this context, it's important that we take on board lessons from our experiences with the aviation sector and seek to ensure that what we're proposing to do at the EU level will contribute to further progress at the wider international level in the IMO."

The draft law, proposed after the International Maritime Organization did not make inroads over the past decade to agree on a global plan on shipping emissions, would mandate that owners of ships bigger than 5,000 gross tons using EU ports to report annual discharges of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for climate change.

The measure is meant to be a first step for worldwide emission curbs and needs support from EU governments and the European Parliament to become a law.

Global maritime transport accounts for 3 percent of the world's CO2 discharges, and emissions from ships are expected to more than double by 2050, according to the commission. The proposed EU system would cut pollution from the trips covered by up to 2 percent and lower net costs to ship owners by as much as $1.6 billion a year in 2030, the commission has said.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

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