Today the European Commission launched an on-line public consultation on possible measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships. All interested stakeholders can send their contributions until 12 April 2012.
The EU committed itself to reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by at least 20% across all sectors. The 2008 legislation provides that if no international agreement was approved which included international maritime emissions before the end of 2011, the Commission should make a proposal to include these in the EU reduction commitment.
Despite significant efforts in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), there has been only limited progress to date on the necessary technical, operational and market-based measures for new and existing ships. The European Commission will continue to support further works in these organisations for the development of global measures. The European Parliament and the Member States have therefore repeatedly called on the European Commission to take action if there is no international agreement.
International maritime transport emissions already account for approximately 3% of global CO2 emissions and they are expected to more than double by 2050 if no additional action is taken. The introduction of measures to cut emissions will also limit fuel consumption – reducing ships fuel bills by many billions of euros each year – and hence bring down transport costs. Such action will also stimulate demand for 'low carbon' maritime equipment and services.