Controversy Over New EU Laws on Emissions Reporting

By December 25, 2014 Article No Comments

^ Image: EU Flag (C) EC. European Union Website. Accessed 11 Dec 2014.

The European Union’s new environmental emissions laws are a sticky point for global shipping. The shipping industry, a key element of international trade and many a nation’s development, is highly impacted by regulations which are often the subject of sensitive negotiations. The EU’s recent moves toward requiring ships in EU waters to monitor, report and check emissions, is seen as a potential detriment to current efforts by the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) toward global, rather than just regional, measures at emissions monitoring and reporting. Kemplon Engineering takes a closer look at the controversial issue.

EU’s New Laws

Estimates attribute about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions to shipping and specifically, the CO2 emissions of ships sailing in EU’s waters are said to have emitted 180 million tonnes in 2010—levels that could make maritime transport Europe’s 8th largest emitter if it were a country.
Concerns over such emissions paved the way toward stricter environmental regulations. Under new laws adopted by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, ships of over 5,000 GT calling at EU ports are subject to monitoring, reporting and verification (“MRV”) of CO2 emissions and to provide other information, regardless of the ship’s flag and ownership.

It is hoped that public reporting requirement of environmental performance will create transparent data on which ships and practices are efficient, and that this in turn would start “a virtuous cycle” of competition that can lead to reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

Reactions, Criticism

Transport & Environment, a sustainable transport group, find that the law may trigger fuel savings, but is still inadequate, as it is just a monitoring measure, rather than a reducing measure. Furthermore, they find the law weak for not covering other air pollutants such as SO2 and NOX. On the other hand, groups such as BIMCO is concerned the new requirements present more red tape than positive impact, and that the new regulations may be detrimental to international agreements at the level of the IMO. The International Chamber of Shipping (“ICS”) is also concerned moves in the EU region may “complicate and perhaps jeopardize” efforts at the IMO to develop a global data collection system.

Next Steps

On the 17th of December, an Environmental Council meeting is expected to come to a political agreement on this adoption. This step will be followed by a position transmitted to the European Parliament for voting on the agreed text at a plenary meeting. The legal procedures may be concluded by the spring of 2015, in force by July, with the first reporting period to start about three years later, on January, 2018.

^ Barnard, Bruce. “EU vessel emissions rule draws ire of shipowners.”, 28 Nov 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2014.
^ “Debate rages over European environmental regulations …” Container Management, 04 Dec 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2014.
^ “EP Committee Adopts CO2 Monitoring Regulation.” Press Release. World Maritime News, 04 Dec 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2014.
^ Marex. “EU CO2 Regulation Compromises IMO Initiatives.” Maritime Executive, 28 Nov 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2014.–2014-11-28
^ Marex. “EU Law a First Step, say Environmentalists.” Maritime Executive, 03 Dec 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2014.
^ Ship & Bunker News Team. “ICS: EU CO2 Rules Could Jeopardise Global Agreement.” Ship & Bunker, 01 Dec 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2014.