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07. July 2020


Important decision postponed

The European Parliament today decided that they will not use 2018 as baseline to calculate the shipping companies’ CO2 reductions. Instead the final decision shall be made by the European Commission.

Which year should be the starting point when one must calculate ships’ energy efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions?

It has been one of the key questions in the work on revising the EU’s monitoring system for ships’ energy efficiency (MRV).

Jutta Paulus (DE-Greens) who has been rapporteur on the MRV file, has had a clear desire not only to place the MRV regulation under scrutiny, but also to take advantage of the opportunity to introduce reduction requirements and not least incorporate shipping in the EU’s emission trading system, ETS.

In that connection, Ms Paulus proposed that 2018 should be used as baseline. This is because 2018 was the first year of reporting in the MRV. By contrast, the International Maritime Organization uses 2008 as baseline.

However, it has not been possible to reach an agreement on this in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). Therefore, instead of deciding on the year of the baseline, ENVI has now chosen to delegate the decision to the European Commission.

”It is a good solution that ENVI now puts the ball in the Commission’s court. If 2018 had been chosen as baseline, we would have to make the regulation based on data from one year only, which is a much too fragile foundation. Some ships only call at port very few times in the EU and if these trips have been ineffective it would misrepresent the ship’s energy efficiency. We have examples of this among our members,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn, Executive Director at Danish Shipping.

ENVI delegates the decision to the Commission, which will hereafter determine the baseline based on solid data and considering that first movers should not be in a worse position.

”Danish shipping companies are conscious of their CO2 emissions, and with ambitions of CO2 neutrality in 2050, they are working determinedly. We must, however, use the correct baseline so we do not end up with an unintended consequence: which it would be, if it punishes the shipping companies which have taken many initiatives, and at the same time rewards those that have not made these investments,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn.


Cargo carried is included

Another part of the legislative proposal involves whether the cargo carried – the real transport work – onboard ships shall be counted in when the energy efficiency of a voyage is calculated.


On this, ENVI decided that all ships sailing to, from and within the EU shall continue to report the amount of cargo carried on board. The Commission had otherwise proposed to weaken this requirement and make it voluntary.

“It is of vital importance that it remains mandatory for ships to report the amount of cargo carried they have onboard. Otherwise, it will not be possible to calculate the actual efficiency of a ship. We support looking at the ship and the operation as a whole,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn.


Shipping included in emission trading

Lastly, ENVI has decided to propose an inclusion of shipping in the EU’s emission trading system, ETS.

”It is not surprising that ENVI proposes to include shipping in the emission trading system. It is a clear indicator of the parliament’s green ambitions. However, we believe that a proposal being so far-reaching possibly should be adopted via the ordinary legislative procedure, which also includes an impact assessment. The work on this has already begun and we expect a proposal from the Commission next summer. Therefore, it does not make sense to try to get a far-reaching initiative as the ETS in through the backdoor,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn.

ENVI’s legislative proposal now must be adopted by the entire European Parliament in September, after which it shall be negotiated with the Council.