ECSA warns European Parliament over emissions deadline





16 October 2015

The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) has warned the European Parliament against "jumping the gun" on shipping climate change action. It was reacting to the suggestion that Europe may try to force the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to decide on measures before the end of 2016. Responding to a resolution passed by the parliament on Wednesday to prepare for the COP21 UN climate talks in Paris in December, ECSA welcomed its recognition of the need to take a global approach to emissions regulation in shipping via the IMO. But it said it was concerned by the parliament's insistence on the IMO coming up with measures before the end of 2016. ECSA secretary-general Patrick Verhoeven said, "2016 is right around the corner and as such, it is rather unrealistic to expect the IMO to come up with a solution in a matter of months." He argued that a European push for a hard deadline could turn out to be counter-productive in an industry that needed global rules because of its highly international nature. Such a deadline would not be in keeping with European Union action on climate change to date, according to ECSA safety and environment director Benoit Loicq. He said pushing for an "extremely tight" deadline would undermine IMO procedure and that any attempt to introduce regional rather than global measures would amount to backtracking on the EU's own policy. ECSA claimed the IMO's record on CO2 reduction to date had been impressive. Following amendments to MARPOL Annex VI that came into force in 2011, shipping was the only industrial sector already covered by binding global measures, it said, while the more recent adoption of the Energy Efficiency Design Index set new targets for the energy efficiency of ships built in the future. Shipping has reduced its contribution to total world CO2 emissions from 2.8% to 2.2% since 2007, while total CO emissions from shipping had been reduced by more than 10% between 2007 and 2012, the organisation said. "Things have started to move in the right direction and it would be regrettable to reverse the progress achieved so far by jumping the gun," Verhoeven warned. The European Parliament said on Wednesday that the European Union should press for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.