Brussels - Ship owners could be forced topay for pollution from their vessels or face bans from EuropeanUnion ports under draft plans to add shipping emissions to thebloc's carbon market. Shipping does not at present face EU emissions targets, butthat is set to change under proposals to make its economygreener which are due to be published next month. A draft proposal, seen by Reuters, would expand the carbonmarket to cover shipping emissions within the EU, internationalvoyages to the bloc and those at berth in an EU port. That would force owners to buy permits from the EU emissionstrading system (ETS) when their ships pollute.
The ETS currentlycovers Europe's power plants and factories. Shipping is seen as one of the trickiest sectors todecarbonise, with industry groups citing a lack of commerciallyviable green technologies. Under the draft EU plan, shipping would be added to the ETSgradually from 2023, when ship owners must surrender enough CO2permits to cover 20% of their emissions. This would rise to 45% in 2024 and 70% in 2025 and from2026, ship owners would need to surrender enough permits tocover 100% of their ETS-covered emissions. If a shipping company failed to comply with the ETS for twoyears running, an EU country could issue an "expulsion order" tothe EU to ban ships owned by the company from the bloc's ports, the draft document said. The European Commission declined to comment on Wednesday onthe proposal, which could change before it is published.
EU countries and the European Parliament, which has said itwants shipping added to the ETS in 2022, would need to negotiatefinal rules, which could take around two years. The proposal would add roughly 90 million tonnes of CO2emissions to the EU ETS, a slither of the EU's overallgreenhouse gas emissions of more than 3 billion tonnes. With about 90% of world trade transported by sea, globalshipping accounts for nearly 3% of the world's CO2 emissions andthese are expected to rise if left unchecked, threateningefforts to curb climate change. The EU plan could put it on a collision course with theInternational Maritime Organization, which is coordinatingmeasures to curb emissions among its more than 170 members. Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamberof Shipping association, said the industry was "wholeheartedlybehind putting a price on carbon". "However, it must be equitable for all nations, not justdeveloped nations, and it must be decided at an internationallevel, not on a region by region basis," Platten told Reuters. "Multiple, overlapping, regional carbon taxes willultimately be bad for trade, bad for developing economies andbad for decarbonisation," he added. The IMO's measures aim to halve maritime emissions by 2050,which falls far short of the EU's plan to eliminate itseconomy-wide net emissions by then, a goal scientists say theworld must meet to avoid the worst impact of climate change.