Climate Action

Reducing emissions from the shipping sector

Policy

The EU is calling for a global approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping – a large and growing source of emissions. As a first step, large ships using EU ports will be from 2018 required to report their verified annual emissions and other relevant information.

Port of Oakland, California, USA© Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Digital Vision

Maritime transport emits around 1000 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions (3rd IMO GHG study).

Shipping emissions are predicted to increase between 50% and 250% by 2050 – depending on future economic and energy developments.

This is not compatible with the internationally agreed goal of keeping global temperature increase to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, which requires worldwide emissions to be at least halved from 1990 levels by 2050.

Untapped potential

Ships' energy consumption and CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 75% by applying operational measures and implementing existing technologies (2nd IMO GHG study).

Many of these measures are cost-effective and offer net benefits, as reduced fuel bills ensure the pay-back of any operational or investment costs.

Further reductions could be achieved by implementing new innovative technologies.

Towards global action

The EU and its Member States have a strong preference for a global approach led by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as this will be most effective.

Considerable efforts to agree such an approach have been made over recent years within both the IMO and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In 2011, the IMO adopted the

  • Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), which sets compulsory energy efficiency standards for new ships, and
  • Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), a management tool for ship owners.

However, international discussions have yet to bring agreement on global market-based measures or other instruments that would cut emissions from the sector as a whole, including existing ships.

Recently, new ideas on technical and operational measures have been proposed, with a perspective of agreeing on a global data collection (or monitoring, reporting and verification) system as the next step.

See leaflet Time for international action on CO2 emissions from shipping

EU support to IMO energy efficiency project

The European Commission contributes €10 million funding to an EC-IMO energy efficiency project.

The 4-year project aims to establish Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres in 5 regions: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.

Through technical assistance and capacity-building, the centres will promote the uptake of low carbon technologies and operations in maritime transport in the less developed countries in the respective region.

This will also support the implementation of the internationally agreed energy efficiency rules and standards (EEDI and SEEMP).

EU strategy

The Commission's 2011 White Paper on transport suggests that the EU's CO2 emissions from maritime transport should be cut by at least 40% from 2005 levels by 2050, and if feasible by 50%. However, international shipping is not covered by the EU's current emissions reduction targets.

In 2013, the Commission set out a strategy for progressively integrating maritime emissions into the EU's policy for reducing its domestic greenhouse gas emissions.

The strategy consists of 3 consecutive steps:

  • Monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from large ships using EU ports
  • Greenhouse gas reduction targets for the maritime transport sector
  • Further measures, including market-based measures, in the medium to long term.

First step: monitor and report emissions

The MRV shipping Regulation adopted in April 2015 creates an EU-wide legal framework for the monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions and other relevant information from maritime transport. It also helps the EU generate momentum for the best possible outcome in the international discussions. Please note that further to the Decision 215/2016 of the EEA Joint Committee from 28th October, the MRV shipping Regulation has been included in the EEA agreement, all references in the MRV shipping Regulation to Member States should be interpreted as including all relevant EEA States (the  EU Member States, Iceland and Norway).

It requires large ships (over 5 000 gross tonnes) irrespective of where the ship or the company is registered calling at EEA ports from 1 January 2018 to monitor their CO2 emissions and other relevant information emitted on journeys to, from and between EEA ports of calls, and also when in EEA ports of call.

Companies having assumed the MRV responsibility for ships visiting EEA ports will have to:

  • By 30 August 2017 submit to an accredited MRV shipping verifier a Monitoring Plan, consisting of complete and transparent documentation of the monitoring method and procedures to be applied for each of the ships under its responsibilities;
  • From 1s January 2018, monitor and report to an accredited MRV shipping verifier, data on each ships' CO2,, fuel consumption and other parameters, such as distance, time at sea and cargo carried, so as to determine the ships' average energy efficiency;
  • From 2019, by 30 April of each year submit electronically to the Commission  satisfactorily verified Emissions report for each of the ships concerned
  • From 2019, by 30 June of each year ensure that, all ships having performed activities in the precedent reporting period and visiting EU ports, carry on board a document of compliance issued by an accredited MRV shipping verifier. This might be subject to inspections by Member States' authorities.

In order to complete the MRV shipping legal framework, the Commission adopted on 22 September 2016, two Delegated Regulations amending the monitoring methods and rules in Annexes I and II to Regulation 2015/757, and further specifying rules for verification and accreditation of MRV shipping verifiers. These two delegated Regulations aim at helping companies to fulfil their monitoring and reporting obligations in a harmonised way, and set additional rules for verification and accreditation of MRV shipping verifiers.

Also two Implementing Regulations have been adopted by the Commission and will enter into force in November 2016.

Experts Consultation related to MRV shipping

As part of the preparations for the MRV shipping Delegated and Implementing Regulations, an experts' consultation process took place between July 2015 and May 2016, under the umbrella of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF): within two "ad hoc" subgroups as follows:

The two MRV shipping subgroups have provided recommendations to the Commission on the delegated and implementing acts which were endorsed by the ESSF Plenary on 28 June 2016

As part of the preparations for the MRV shipping implementation these two experts' subgroups will develop further guidance on a number of monitoring, reporting and verification aspects by spring 2017.

Documentation

Strategy on maritime transport emissions

Publications

Studies

Studies