European shipping emissions undermining international climate targets
Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping equal the carbon footprint of a quarter of passenger cars in Europe and stand in the way of countries reducing emissions and limiting runaway global heating, analysis reveals.
Despite the scale of shipping emissions from both container and cruise ships, they are not part of emissions reduction targets made by countries as part of the Paris agreement on climate change.
In France, Germany, UK, Spain, Sweden and Finland shipping emissions in 2018 were larger than the emissions from all the passenger cars registered in 10 or more of the largest cities in each country, according to the report published on Monday from Transport and Environment, a Brussels-based NGO.
The shipping sector emitted about 139m tonnes of CO2 in 2018 – equal to CO2 from a quarter of Europe’s total passenger car fleet or 68m cars, the report, EU Shipping’s Climate Record, said.
Since 2015, shipping companies have had to declare data on their emissions under the EU Monitoring, Reporting and Verification Regulation (MRV). T&E’s report analyses the data and calculates that a container shipping operator has joined coal plants and Ryanair in the EU’s list of top 10 carbon emitters.
The operator – the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) – moves consumer goods, ranging from electronics and fresh fruit to clothes and toys. It was responsible for about 11m tonnes of CO2 emissions, the report claims.
Faig Abbasov, shipping manager at T&E, who wrote the report, said: “A company that consumers have never heard of has joined the top 10 polluters list in Europe. This industry doesn’t pay a cent for its carbon emissions and the EU has so far done nothing to curb its damage. European trade doesn’t have to be dirty just because EU leaders have neglected to clean up shipping.”
MSC said: “MSC operates a modern, green fleet and is investing heavily in low-carbon technologies and extensive new-build and retrofit programmes to boost performance and minimise our environmental impact.”
It added: “MSC’s fleet improvement programme has resulted in a 13% reduction in CO2 emissions per transport work in 2015-18 and will help the container shipping industry make progress towards the United Nations International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2030 CO2 targets.”
The T&E report said the EU had committed to “economy-wide” emissions reductions efforts by signing the Paris agreement. “However, shipping is currently the only sector not yet contributing to the EU’s emissions reduction targets and efforts,” it said.
Shipping emissions have risen since 1990 by about 26m tonnes of CO2, or 19%, the report says.
Shipping is provided with fossil fuel subsidies under EU law of €24bn (£20bn), as well as exemptions from taxes on tickets for passenger ships, VAT and corporate taxes.
There are growing calls in the EU for the regulation of international shipping. The new president of the EU commission, Ursula von der Leyen, made extending the EU emissions trading scheme to maritime transport one of the top political priorities of her tenure.
Abbasov said: “It’s high time national leaders support President Ursula von der Leyen and the European parliament in reining in long-ignored maritime emissions.
“To make shipping do its fair share, Europe must bring shipping into its carbon market and mandate CO2 standards for all ships calling at its ports.”
Since 2015, ships of more than 5,000 gross tonnage have had to report fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions during voyages between the European Economic Area (EEA) ports.
The T&E analysis published on Monday examines the initial set of emissions reports from the data – giving for the first time a picture of shipping’s carbon footprint in Europe.
The report calls for the EU to impose a CO2 levy on EU shipping and calls for the setting up of a European maritime climate fund to reinvest in the sector to help it reduce its carbon footprint.
It also wants shipping emissions included in the EU’s 2030 reduction objective, as well as the upcoming EU 2050 decarbonisation target.
Source: The Guardian