Greece, Cyprus and Malta convinced the 27-member bloc to give the International Maritime Organization another year to come up with measures for reducing shipping"s contribution to climate change.
Greece, Cyprus and Malta today secured support for a global agreement on carbon dioxide reductions from shipping from European Union partners.
The three maritime nations convinced the 27-member bloc to give the International Maritime Organization another year to come up with measures for reducing shipping"s contribution to climate change.
The EU Council of Environment ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, decided all work should be channelled through the IMO as long as a solution was ?agreed in 2010 and approved by 2011?.
Ministers, who were preparing Europe"s negotiating position ahead of the Copenhagen climate change conference, decided emissions reductions should be ?implemented globally in a manner that ensures a level playing field?.
In exchange for these commitments the three maritime nations dropped their objections to a 20% reduction target for the maritime sector below 2005 levels by 2020. Concerned that a European target might weaken their shipowning industries, the coalition led by Greece had been threatening to veto the target unless it was accompanied by a strong international commitment.
The final council agreement, which also covered aviation, stated: ?The EU supports the use of global market-based instruments to reduce emissions from these sectors?.
It continued: ?Such instruments should be developed within the International Civil Aviation Organization and the IMO, respectively.?
The deal with the maritime coalition was made in private rather than in the open council session, sources said. ?The presidency took them into one of the private smoke-filled rooms and then came back with the agreement for us to vote on,? said one diplomat. Basically the IMO has been given another year.?
A presidency source said: ?Resistance from Greece and the others weakened after an adjustment was made to the text giving them commitments that these reductions would be tackled globally.?
Some Brussels law-makers are frustrated at the slow pace of IMO discussions on climate change, though the EU"s maritime nations are always supportive of the London-based body.
Environmental lobby group Greenpeace, meanwhile, complained shipping and aviation were getting ?special treatment?.
?Under current proposals, shipping and aviation will actually be allowed to increase emissions by one third, compared to 1990 levels. This gives them an unfair advantage over other sectors,? it said.