Top EU Nations among Worst Performers in Climate Talks

Europe’s top shipping nations have been identified as one of the worst performers in International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) maritime climate talks, according to a ranking compiled by Transport & Environment (T&E).

The five worst performers in the ranking, based on written and oral submissions to the IMO by EU countries, are Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Croatia. The EU’s biggest shipping registries, Malta, Greece and Cyprus received almost exclusively negative points given their near complete lack of ambition in the climate negotiations.

The ranking also showed that the European ambition to clean up the shipping sector’s greenhouse gas emissions is being led by Germany, Belgium and France. The top three, followed by the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and then the UK, Denmark, Luxembourg and Finland, were the most active in pushing for an effective climate plan to be agreed by the IMO.

“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. But these same states are now working to derail progress on a climate deal for shipping at the IMO,” Faig Abbasov, shipping officer with T&E, said.

Shipping emits 3% of global CO2 – and emissions are increasing year on year – yet it remains one of the few sectors of the global economy without sector-specific emissions reduction targets.

The IMO is expected to agree a plan to reduce shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions at its environment committee meeting in April 2018.

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).