Shipping pollution should be covered by Europe’s carbon market – EU lawmakers

BRUSSELS, 7 July 2020.  European Parliament environment committee members have voted to extend the EU carbon market to cover international shipping, to establish a maritime decarbonisation fund and to set a mandatory reduction target for the carbon intensity of shipping. Carbon Market Watch welcomes the decision as the first step towards putting a price on pollution from one of the major global emitters. 

 In a vote today, the European Parliament’s environment committee overwhelmingly (62 votes for, 3 against) backed the lead lawmaker Jutta Paulus’ proposal to extend the EU carbon market to cover international shipping. The EU is taking action in the absence of progress to tackle dangerous carbon pollution at the UN shipping agency International Maritime Organisation (IMO). 

The vote was a part of the ongoing legislative work to revise the rules on the monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport regulation (the “MRV Regulation”). 

Wijnand Stoefs, policy officer at Carbon Market Watch said:

This decision is a big and timely step in the right direction to regulate carbon pollution from ships. It should inject urgency into the global talks that are advancing at a snail’s pace – the IMO should realise that if it continues to drag its feet more regional and national efforts are to be expected. We urge the full European Parliament and EU governments to support this in order to ensure the shipping sector delivers its fair share of climate action.

The environment committee also supported Paulus’ proposal to establish a “Ocean Fund” and a binding target to force shipping companies to reduce the carbon intensity of their transport by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2018.

The Ocean Fund would recycle half the revenues from the EU carbon market generated by the shipping sector into supporting decarbonization actions and innovation in the sector itself and the protection of marine environments. This could mobilize between 1.5 and 2.5 billion EUR annually for climate action in this sector. 

Wijnand Stoefs:

The three measures together could be a game-changer for shipping climate action in Europe and globally; they will put a price on carbon pollution, stimulate investments into innovation, create sustainable jobs in the clean shipping industry and push for short-term climate action. 

For them to deliver, shipping should be included in the EU carbon market by 2022 without free pollution permits for the industry. The fund should only support ‘no-regret’ options such as renewable energy and energy efficiency breakthrough technologies and the carbon efficiency target’s baseline should be based on the most recent data available. ” 

The European Green Deal also includes a prospect to include the international shipping sector in the EU carbon market as the legislation is reviewed in 2021. The European Parliament and MEP Paulus are looking into the possibility of doing this earlier in the context of the revision of shipping emissions monitoring rules.

The full plenary is expected to vote on its position 14 September. The EU member states developed their position in October 2019. Trilogue negotiations between the European Parliament, member states and the European Commission are set to start in the autumn.

-ENDS-