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Friday, December 15, 2017

ESPO Supports CO2 Emissions Agreement

November 16, 2017

Eamonn O'Reilly, ESPO Chairman. Photo: European Sea Ports Organisation

Eamonn O'Reilly, ESPO Chairman. Photo: European Sea Ports Organisation

 Last week, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement with regard to the CO2 emissions from shipping and agreed to align any EU action with the IMO timeline. 

 
This compromise is a part of the first reading agreement on the review of the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) Directive. The agreed text wants the IMO to introduce an ambitious emission reduction target and accompanying measures by 2023. 
 
In particular, the agreement sets two milestones by saying that an IMO emission reduction target in 2018 as part of its initial strategy has become a matter of urgency and that action either at IMO or EU should start from 2023.
 
In parallel, the agreement introduces a regular screening of the process at IMO level. The Commission should report at least once a year to the European Parliament and the Council on any progress achieved. Moreover, the European legislators stress that the ambitious emission reduction objective at IMO level will have to be consistent with the well below 2°C objective agreed under the Paris Agreement.
 
 “We welcome the agreement between the Parliament and the Council. The IMO is by far the right place to introduce a target and measures for shipping emissions. We need global action but we need it on time. There is a sense of urgency in order for the sector to contribute to the Paris objective to keep the increase of global temperature well below two degrees. We believe that in that context five years for achieving an agreement at global level is more than enough. The regular reporting should also help the EU and its Member States to sound the alarm if insufficient progress is made” says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.
 
The EU and national climate measures that are currently being developed to implement the Paris Agreement, will oblige ports to reduce the carbon footprint of their land-based activities. 
 
These efforts should be accompanied by measures covering emissions generated at sea. The environmental reputation of the maritime and port sector is at stake. Moreover, ports, coastal cities and their local communities are amongst the most vulnerable to extreme weather conditions resulting from global warming.
 
ESPO therefore believes that on the basis of available scientific evidence, the IMO needs to strengthen its efforts and submit an initial reduction target to the stock-take process of the Paris Agreement in 2018 accompanied by short-term measures. 
 
By 2023, IMO should introduce the necessary target and measures to bend down the CO2 emissions curve. In this context, ESPO supported the paper co-sponsored by IAPH at IMO.
 
The ETS agreement is subject to a formal approval by Council’s COREPER and the plenary of the European Parliament.
 
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