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EU commits to emissions monitoring system

Siim Kallas and Connie Hedegaard Siim Kallas and Connie Hedegaard

The European Commission has signalled its intention to introduce a monitoring and reporting system to tackle emissions from shipping vessels in the EU.

Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas and EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard have issued a joint statement on the issue of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, outlining their plans.

The statement says: “Shipping is a global industry and needs global solutions to address its environmental footprint. As a result, we are all working towards an internationally agreed global solution to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from ships.”

“The International Maritime Organisation made a significant and highly welcome step forward in July 2011 with the Energy Efficiency Design Index. But this measure alone – which is applied only to new ships from 2015 – will not be enough to ensure shipping emissions are reduced fast enough.”

“Discussions about further global measures are on-going at IMO level, but we need intermediary steps to quickly deliver emissions reductions, such as energy efficiency measures also for existing ships.”

The statement continues to say that, at the EU level at least, a number of different options are being considered, including market-based mechanisms and a new monitoring system which is planned to be introduced early next year.

The statement says: “A simple, robust and globally-feasible approach towards setting a system for monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions based on fuel consumption is the necessary starting point. This will help make progress at global level and feed into the IMO process.”

“It's therefore our joint intention to pursue such a monitoring, reporting and verification system in early 2013. At the same time, we will continue the debate with stakeholders on which measure can successfully address the EU's greenhouse gas reduction objectives.”

“The shipping industry itself is best placed to take the lead in delivering fast and effective greenhouse gas emission reductions – thereby cutting cost and making the sector fit for the future. The Commission is ready to play its part, in the EU and at IMO level.”

In related news, a group of maritime companies comprised of BMT ARGOSS, International Paint and NAPA, have themselves called on the International Maritime Organization to introduce standards to measure the effectiveness of energy-saving technologies.

The group wants IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to work with independent vessel performance monitoring organisations to develop a standard methodology to determine the energy saving and eco-efficiency impact of clean technologies fitted to new and existing vessels.

The companies say that there have been those in the maritime industry that have questioned the measurement and validation of fuel saving and efficiency claims made by technology companies and that, with high fuel prices and new lower sulphur regulations, ship owners, operators and charterers want to more accurately know the methods they can employ to reduce fuel consumption.

Until a transparent and, critically, independent standard methodology is agreed to determine the fuel savings claims of eco-efficient technologies and measures, the group believes that ship owners, operators and charterers will continue to lack the confidence in the information they need to make significant investment decisions.

“There needs to be more trust between clean technology manufacturers and the shipping community. If they don't have confidence in the fuel and emissions reduction figures that are claimed, take up will be stifled; the sustainable evolution of the industry will be slow to evolve and customers will spend more on fuel than they need to at a time when budgets are being significantly stretched,” said Paul Robbins, marine marketing director at International Paint.

“Fundamentally, we can do this by taking a step back and letting independent, third party expert fuel and emissions monitoring organisations develop a standard model that can be applied to measure reduction levels. Ensuring independence is critical and the most responsible and effective way to generate credibility for clean technology manufacturers and build trust with customers.”

“We believe the optimum system would be based on real-time, automated and high-frequency data collection and monitoring throughout the service life of the vessel allowing transparent and independent access by all stakeholders to hull performance data.”

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