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    EU Parliament Backs Charging Ships for Emissions


Maritime emissions will be included in the EU emissions trading system from 2022.

by: Joe Murphy

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EU Parliament Backs Charging Ships for Emissions

The European Parliament has voted to include pollution from the shipping industry in the EU emissions trading system (ETS), in order to help decarbonise maritime transport.

Ships with a gross tonnage of over 5,000 making voyages within Europe and international journeys to and from EU ports will have to buy carbon permits to cover their emissions, starting in 2022. EU lawmakers voted 520 in favour and 94 against the change in regulation on September 16, with 77 abstentions.

The European Commission earlier proposed aligning EU emissions rules with those of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which at the start of this year imposed much stricter limits on sulphur content in marine fuels. However, MEPs said the IMO rules had not made enough of a dent in emissions and so applying the ETS to shipping was needed.

Furthermore, lawmakers said shipping companies should lower their annual CO2 emissions per transport unit by at least 40% by 2030. The next step will be for Parliament to negotiate with member states on the final shape of the legislation.

Greens MEP Jutta Paulus said the vote was "a strong signal in line with the European Green Deal and the climate emergency: Monitoring and reporting CO2 emissions is important, but statistics alone do not save a single gram of greenhouse gas."

"That's why we are going further than the Commission proposal and demanding tougher measures to reduce emissions from maritime shipping," she said. 

Shipowners have pursued several options for complying with the current IMO rules on emissions. Some have invested in scrubbers, which strip sulphur particles from ships' exhaust smoke, while others have switched from high-sulphur fuel oil to cleaner lower-sulphur fuel oil, gas oil and LNG. The use of LNG in bunkering is particularly popular in the Baltic Sea.