EU debates how to reduce ship emissions

EU debates how to reduce ship emissions

The next round of talks on renegotiating the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) kick off today in London. The ETS

Photo: Andrew Priest

Photo: Andrew Priest

The next round of talks on renegotiating the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) kick off today in London. The ETS aims to regulate pollution from industry in pursuit of the EU’s ambitious climate goals of cutting emissions by 95% compared to 1990 levels by 2050.

But Brussels won’t be able to meet its target alone; international consensus is required to regulate emissions generated outside of national jurisdictions. The focus of today’s summit – the trillion-dollar global shipping industry, responsible for 3% of global CO2 – is a prime example.

The EU is aiming to broker cuts on shipping emissions through the International Maritime Organization. But the move faces resistance from oil-producers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Countries reliant on geographically-remote traded, particularly those in Latin America, also fear that cuts could increase the costs of long-haul trade, raising prices of imported products and reducing the competitiveness of their exports.

Discussions at the International Maritime Organization will resume in October and, if a consensus is reached, an agreement could be drafted as early as next year and implemented in 2023. But if they fail, the EU will likely incorporate ship emissions to the ETS by 2023.