Rise in Shipping Emissions Could Endanger Saving Efforts

Anticipated growth in shipping emissions could, along with emissions from aviation, undo nearly half of the savings expected to be made by the rest of transport in Europe by 2030, a new independent study shows.

It means that almost half of the already-inadequate emissions savings expected in land transport will be canceled out by ships and planes, according to the report commissioned by sustainable group Transport & Environment (T&E).

The maritime transport sector is characterized by a rising liquid fossil fuel demand, starting at a value of 40 Mtoe (million tons of oil equivalent) in 2010 and rising to a value of 50 Mtoe in 2030.

“Planes and ships are free riding at the expense of land transport’s already insufficient efforts to cut emissions. This is not only unfair but a roadblock to Europe meeting its own climate commitments. Governments need to think again and include shipping in the emissions trading system and strengthen its aviation provisions,” Bill Hemmings, aviation and shipping director at T&E, said.

Under measures already in place, land transport is expected to consume 43 Mtoe less energy per year in 2030 than it did in 2010, according to consultant CE Delft. Even this 43 Mtoe cut is less than half of what will be required from land transport under the EU’s proposed 2030 Effort Sharing Regulation.

Yet ships and planes in Europe will consume 19 Mtoe more fuel annually in 2030 than they did 20 years earlier, T&E said.

Shipping emissions are unregulated but next week the European Parliament will consider a proposal to change this by creating a maritime climate fund and including ship emissions in the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS). The fund would rebate a portion of ETS revenues back to the sector to finance sustainability projects.

Image Courtesy: T&E

Shipping CO2 emissions can be reduced cumulatively by 80 million tons by 2030 if the sector is included in the ETS, compared to the status quo where its emissions are not regulated, according to the European Commission.

Shipping, one of the fastest growing sources of transport emissions, is projected to account for 17% of global emissions by 2050.

However, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) decided in October to delay by at least seven years any agreement on introducing a global measure to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the sector with the actual implementation date possibly many years further away.

Image Courtesy: Transport & Environment

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