EU Moves Closer to Regulating CO2 from Shipping

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Published Jul 7, 2020 2:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, the European Parliament's environmental committee approved a measure to include shipping's carbon emissions within the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), the EU's carbon credit market. The move would modify the EU's existing Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) regulation for data collection on ship CO2 emissions in order to subject these emissions to ETS cap-and-trade requirements. The European Parliament's overall objective is to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050 - a much more ambitious goal than the IMO's target of halving CO2 from shipping by midcentury. 

The proposed amendment would impose ETS coverage and MRV reporting requirements for methane in addition to CO2, an important consideration for LNG-powered vessels. It also sets an efficiency target of 40 percent less CO2 per tonne-mile by 2030.

"I am delighted that a majority of MEPs are supporting the expansion of the EU ETS to include shipping. We also agreed that half of the revenue should go to a fund that on the one hand supports research and development of innovative, climate-friendly ships and on the other hand co-finances nature conservation in our oceans," said the sponsor, MEP Jutta Paulus. "The MRV regulation in its previous form has done important preliminary work and has provided valuable data on CO2 emissions from ships. But data alone does not reduce greenhouse gases. That is why we MEPs went far beyond the [European Commission] proposal."

The text of the proposal also forecasts more stringent EU regulation in the future. "Market-based emissions reduction policies, on their own, are not sufficient to meet the Union's emissions reduction targets, and should be accompanied or replaced by binding regulatory emissions reduction policies that are properly enforced," the proposal suggests. It also expresses the sentiment that regardless of any future international (IMO) regulation of CO2 emissions, the EU should retain the ability to show "climate leadership by maintaining or adopting more stringent measures within the Union."

The committee's approval sets the measure up for a vote before the full European Parliament in September.