Mandatory measures to cut ships' emissions
Mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping were adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) this week at a meeting in London.
The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013, according to IMO.
The EEDI is a non-prescriptive, performance-based mechanism that leaves the choice of technologies to use in a specific ship design to the industry.
As long as the required energy-efficiency level is attained, ship designers and builders would be free to use the most cost-efficient solutions for the ship to comply with the regulations.
The EEDI will force new ships to meet a minimum level of energy efficiency. Ships built between 2015 and 2019 will need to improve their efficiency by 10 percent, rising to 20 percent between 2020 and 2024 and 30 percent for ships delivered after 2024, writes Reuters.
A group of countries led by China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa secured a waiver for new ships registered in developing nations until 2019, claiming they needed more time to acquire more advanced technologies.
Shipping accounts for around 3.3 percent of the world's man-made carbon dioxide emissions. According to an IMO study, shipping emissions could grow by 150 to 250 percent by 2050 if regulation is not in place.
The European Commission, which has threatened to pursue market-based mechanisms such as including shipping in its emissions trading scheme (ETS), said the move was a "major step forward".
Aviation is set to be included in the ETS in 2012, but US airlines are challenging the decision in the EU's highest court and China has also voiced criticism.
EU plans sulfur cut
The European Commission proposed this week to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from ships by up to 90 percent, and fine particle emissions by up to 80 percent. The proposed legislation revises the Directive on the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels and incorporates new IMO standards into EU law to ensure their proper and harmonized enforcement by all EU member states.
The proposal would cut the maximum permissible sulphur content of fuels to 0.1 percent from 1.5 percent from 2015 in sensitive areas such as the Baltic Sea and the English Channel, and to 0.5 percent from 4.5 percent in all other areas from 2020.
"This proposal is an important step forward in reducing emissions from the fast-growing maritime transport sector," said EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik.
"It will help resolve the persistent air quality problems that continue to affect millions of Europeans. It is part of a transformational agenda that will prepare the sector for the challenges of tomorrow."
The expected cost to the shipping industry of the new standards is between EUR2.6 billion and 11 billion, which the EU executive said would be far outweighed by public health savings, of up to EUR34 billion.
Without action to reduce them, sulphur dioxide emissions from shipping would exceed those from all land-based sources by 2020.