EU agrees on law to make ships measure CO2 emissions

SONY DSCFor the first time, the shipping sector will have to monitor its carbon emissions under a law agreed upon by the European Union Wednesday (26 November), intended as a step towards tackling a growing source of pollutants linked to climate change.

The European Commission proposed a regulation in June 2013 which will require owners of large ships using EU ports to monitor and report the ships’ annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Emissions from the international maritime transport sector today account for 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 4% of EU GHG emissions. Without action they are expected to increase significantly in the future, in line with expected increases in trade volumes between all continents. Such growth would undermine efforts being undertaken in other sectors to reduce the EU’s overall GHG emissions.

EU introduces a mechanism for monitoring, reporting and checking shipping emissions as a follow-up to an October EU agreement on new targets to tackle climate change and a precursor to U.N. efforts to seal a global pact in 2015. Speaking on condition of anonymity, diplomats said four nations – Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Poland – had voted against the law, but that had not been enough to block it. The measure was expected to be signed into law, pending formal publication over the coming months. Years of debate in the IMO and at the UN have failed to come up with a way of including shipping emissions in mandatory pollution curbs.

TIMELINE: 1 Jan. 2018: ship owners to start monitoring emissions from ships of more than 5,000 gross tons
More on the new regulation here