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NGO: 25 million tonnes of CO2 exempt from EU's carbon price for shipping

More than 25 million tonnes of carbon emission from ships are exempt from the EU's proposed carbon price for shipping, writes NGO Transport & Environment in new report. Danish Shipping supports the EU's proposal.

Photo: Jakub Dospiva/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

A new report from the Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment concludes that more than 25 million tonnes of CO2 from European shipping looks to be let off the hook from the EU's proposed quotas for the industry.

According to the NGO, this is the equivalent of Denmark's entire carbon emissions.

"Arbitrary exemptions of ships such as those servicing oil and gas facilities, as well as yachts, will undermine the EU's shipping law and let millions of tonnes of emissions off the hook," states Transport & Environment in an announcement.

It's good that the EU is finally trying to address shipping's appalling climate impact. But its proposal based on arbitrary loopholes lets too many heavily polluting vessels off the hook

Jacob Armstrong, Sustainable Shipping Officer at Transport & Environment

The EU aims to include shipping in the quota system known as the Emissions Trading System (ETS) on the same line as the union's other sectors, including aviation, the industrial sector and power stations. The final setup is underway; however, as late as December, consultancy firm UMAS estimated that it is too conservative in its present form in order to secure a green transition properly.

The EU's quota proposal covers ships with a size of more than 5,000 gross tonnes and together with the exempt ship types "emitting more on average than bulk carriers and oil tankers," it means that a little more than half of the European ships are exempt from the quota system, writes the NGO.

"It's good that the EU is finally trying to address shipping's appalling climate impact. But its proposal based on arbitrary loopholes lets too many heavily polluting vessels off the hook. The EU must rethink its shipping laws to ensure that millions of tonnes of CO2 don't go unregulated," says Jacob Armstrong, sustainable shipping officer at Transport & Environment, in the announcement.

Danish Shipping supports the EU line

At Danish Shipping, Head of Security, Environment and Maritime Research Maria Skipper Schwenn makes it clear that the interest group backs the EU line.

Concerning Transport & Environment's remark that it's arbitrary which ships are counted, that's not entirely true. That is based on transportation work (MRV), and here there is no data on, for instance, offshore ships

Maria Skipper Schwenn, Head of Security, Environment and Maritime Research at Danish Shipping

"Overall, we support the proposal put forth by the EU, which means that up to 90 percent of carbon emissions are covered," says Schween.

She adds that the limit of the 5,000 gross tonnes first and foremost is there to secure that a lot of smaller companies are released from a large amount of administrative work and expenses, which, ultimately, do not contribute with that much in regards to the climate.

"And concerning Transport & Environment's remark that it's arbitrary which ships are counted, that's not entirely true. That is based on transportation work (MRV), and here there is no data on, for instance, offshore ships," she adds.

To ShippingWatch, Schwenn highlights that Danish Shipping wants ETS to cover as much of the emission as possible, and not just CO2, but all types of greenhouse gases.

English edit: Kristoffer Grønbæk

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