EU Says Ships Should Cut Emissions

Thursday, October 11, 2007
European Union officials said the shipping sector should have to live up to similar greenhouse gas emission targets as aircraft and automobiles, according to an AP report. Joe Borg, the EU's fisheries and maritime affairs commissioner, said ships should be included in pollution cutting programs as part of a more environmentally friendly maritime policy the bloc intends to develop in the years ahead. Borg said EU officials were already in discussions with the shipping industry to see how they could reduce carbon dioxide emissions from ships. These include looking at cleaner fuels and encouraging ships to use electricity while they are in port, rather than keeping their engines running on oil and other fuels while idle. He also hoped that the EU's global counterparts and the International Maritime Organization, a U.N. body which regulates shipping worldwide, would include shipping in their emission cutting plans. Borg said carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport were lower than aircraft emissions. That statement, however, is at odds with recent media reports in Britain suggesting research being used by the IMO shows that an increase in shipping worldwide has led to more pollution which could be even higher than airline sector emissions. The call to curb pollution on the high-seas was part of a 34-point strategy presented by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Borg meant to promote Europe-wide coordination to preserve coastal communities, boost jobs and protect sensitive water ecology and fish stocks. The plan also includes ways to boost cooperation between national coast guards to increase maritime security and to patrol EU maritime borders to keep out illegal migrants. The EU chief called for a more coordinated approach to ensure Europeans get the most out of their maritime resources in sectors such as tourism, their ailing fisheries sector, more environmentally friendly shipping and better use of the EU's 1,200 ports. The new strategy will aim to shift jobs from fisheries and shipbuilding to the more lucrative tourism sector and high-tech areas like the building of coastline windmills and other sea-based energy sources, which the EU is looking to find as alternatives to fossil fuels. Borg said he would also introduce legislative proposals to better fight illegal fish catches and to encourage the growth of fish farms and other aquaculture. [Source: AP]

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