EU governments and Members of the European Parliament have agreed that Europe should act on ship greenhouse gas emissions from 2023 if the International Maritime Organisation fails to deliver effective global measures.

Seas At Risk welcomes the strong position taken by the European Parliament and EU governments. The EU’s determination to regulate ship greenhouse gas emissions will increase pressure on the UN body, and help guard against further delay in the agreement of global targets and measures. At last month’s IMO meeting, calls for urgent action to reduce ship greenhouse gas emissions before 2023 were met with heavy push-back by many countries and big industry groups. Even the idea of starting a discussion on immediate measures like reduced ship speed was blocked. Calls for longer-term emission reduction targets to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s ambition to keep warming below 1.5 degrees also faced serious opposition.

The process started in December 2016, when the Environment Committee of the European Parliament agreed to support the inclusion of shipping in a revised EU greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme. This ambitious initiative was then backed by the European Parliament a few months later. Last night agreement was achieved following the trilogue between the European Council and the European Parliament and represents the final decision.