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2014 Media Kit
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EU proposal on shipping emissions ineffectual

By: | at 08:51 AM | Channel(s): Intermodal  

EU proposals to curb shipping emissions will do very little to cut carbon dioxide and miss the chance for efficiency savings worth millions of euros, a report found on Thursday.

Maritime leader Greece, holder of the rotating EU presidency, has said the draft law is a priority for its six months at the helm of EU policy-making.

Thursday’s report by Dutch consultancy CE Delft, which often advises the Commission on green policy, makes the case for encouraging the latest emissions monitoring equipment, rather than only basic methods, such as collecting fuel receipts, required by the Commission proposal.

An initial vote in an EU parliamentary committee on Thursday backed monitoring emissions. Another committee ballot next month will follow, which EU sources said was expected to propose tougher measures, pending a final plenary vote, possibly before the European parliamentary elections in May.

Published last June, the proposal from the Commission, the EU executive, requires owners of large ships using EU ports to measure and report carbon dioxide emissions from January 2018. It would cut emissions by up to 2 percent per year, the Commission said without specifying how it would do so.

But the Delft report says costs will be higher than needed and emissions cuts negligible because of the failure to encourage the best technology.

Monitoring equipment already in use on some ships, but not rolled out EU-wide, has cut emissions by between 3 and 8 percent, the report found.

The Commission has estimated annual administrative costs of about 76.4 million euros ($104 million), which the report says could be lowered by between five and nine million euros per year as automated fuel monitoring or continuous emissions monitoring would be cheaper as it does not require man hours.

Companies, including Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S , the group behind the world’s biggest container shipping operator, have said the Commission proposal is a pragmatic solution.

Environmental campaigners say it is timid. “It makes perfect environmental and economic sense to use modern technologies,” John Maggs of campaign group Seas at Risk said.

The Commission stopped short of proposing market-based measures to cut shipping emissions after its plan to include aviation in its EU Emissions Trading Scheme prompted international outcry.

Overall, the European Union has cut carbon emissions and has already almost met a 2020 goal to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 percent compared with 1990 levels.

Ahead of Commission guidance on 2030 energy and environment policy expected later this month, a non-binding vote in the European Parliament on Thursday called for a new set of three 2030 goals on cutting carbon emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy and increasing the rate of energy savings.

But EU-wide agreement would be very hard to achieve, with some member states and some businesses strongly opposed to triple targets and saying environmental measures must above all be affordable when the economy is weak.