Of all industries in the EU economy the transport sector is the only one to have steadily increased its Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions since the reference year of 1990.
Transport comprises of three modes, inland (road, rail and waterways), sea and air. Emissions from inland transport (mainly road) are the most important followed by maritime while aviation comes third.
The greatest share of CO2 reductions has been achieved by land based emissions sources such as industrial plants and road transport. Regarding the maritime sector, it has to be said that historically it has not been addressed properly, if at all, as compared to all other transport modes. Such a privileged lack of regulation implies that currently, the cost of reducing emissions from ships would be much lower than for same results from land-based polluters.
The shipping industry claims that by improving marine fuel oil quality and by reducing the sulphur content, as agreed in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) under the MARPOL Convention, it will contribute to CO2 emissions reduction. This is incorrect and misleading.
Improved marine fuel quality is totally unrelated to CO2 emissions. A better and cleaner fuel does not reduce CO2 emissions responsible for the global warming but it reduces only emissions of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) pollutants which relates to the sulphur content of marine oil.
Indeed, as we reported in the past, while for road transport, fuel, by Commission Directive the upper limit of sulphur content is 1% (New Europe played a key role at the time when the Prodi Commission attempted to allow an indefinite derogation from the Sulphur Directive for a certain country).
For marine fuel, the sulphur limit is strangely still at 4.5%. However, SO2 emissions affect human health and are responsible for acid rain only and not for global warming. Precisely, our case is global warming and any possible claim of the industry on the quality improvement of marine fuel as a mean to reduce CO2 is only a misleading excuse.
In any case, if the European Commission insists on favouring the shipping industry by excluding it from the Emissions Trade System (ETS) should at least consider imposing abatement measures for the shipping industry as the only alternative to reduce CO2 emissions in international shipping.
Introduce legislation aiming at energy efficiency and consequently reduced CO2 emissions with new technology engines, innovative fittings in the ships, other type of fuel such as gas, wind turbines, electricity through photovoltaic panels, etc., and/or a combination of them. However, all these innovations cost money which obviously big shipping groups are not willing to pay.
The essential in this issue is to include the shipping industry in the ETS since as long as it remains outside it has no reason to participate in this great political, economic and social world-wide endeavour of reducing global warming.
To this effect, if the European Commission decides to include the maritime industry in the ATS, there is no doubt that the big maritime conglomerates such as A.P. Moller – Maersk (Denmark), Mediterranean Shipping Company (Italy), Evergreen (Singapore), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (Japan), and many others will have to make huge investments
The key person for keeping shipping out of the CO2 emissions controls, without any explanation, is the Climate Action Commissioner from Denmark, Connie Hedegaard.
Source: New Europe