A new ranking based on written and oral submissions to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) by European Union (EU) countries has shown the participation level of countries in cleaning up the maritime sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The ranking, compiled by sustainable transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E), has shown Germany, Belgium and France to be the most active in pushing for an effective climate plan to be agreed by the IMO. These countries are followed by the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and then the UK, Denmark, Luxembourg and Finland.
The five worst performers in the ranking are Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Croatia. The EU’s biggest shipping registries, Malta, Greece and Cyprus received almost exclusively negative points due to a “near complete lack of ambition in the climate negotiations,” says T&E.
“When the European Parliament demanded action on shipping emissions back in 2017, the big European maritime nations cried out that the EU shouldn’t regulate shipping, as everyone was doing their best to get things done at the IMO,” notes Faig Abbasov, shipping officer with T&E.
“But these same states are now working to derail progress on a climate deal for shipping at the IMO.”
According to T&E, the ranking reveals deep geographical divisions between northern EU countries, which demonstrate higher ambition, and Southern and Eastern EU states, which are generally far less ambitious about ship greenhouse gas reduction targets and measures.
The only notable exception is Spain, which holds fifth position. The ranking includes the 23 EU countries with a coastline plus Luxembourg, which has an active shipping registry despite not being a maritime nation.
IMO will meet in April 2018 to adopt its Initial GHG Strategy for the sector, over 20 years after being first tasked to do so by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
The key issues on the table are: agreement on a long-term emissions reduction target; a commitment to immediate action; and the shortlisting of candidate short, mid and long-term reduction measures. Immediate measures under discussion include ship operational speed limits (slow steaming) and tighter efficiency standards for new ships as there is massive over-compliance with the weak Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).
“April is the last chance saloon for the shipping industry, the major flag states and the IMO to get their act together,” states Abbasov.
“Shipping can no longer free-ride on the efforts of other sectors. This is a wakeup call for the EU. Either EU governments, especially those with big shipping industries, get serious about delivering a good outcome at IMO, or they will have to accept solutions outside the IMO.”
Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 23 March, 2018
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