EU backs IMO on emissions reduction.
THE European Union has aligned its position on greenhouse gas emissions with that of the shipping industry ahead of this month's International Maritime Organization meeting.
A draft position written for the Marine Environment Protection Committee shows the EU believes the IMO is the ?appropriate? body to tackle reductions in carbon dioxide.
It also calls for a ?flag-neutral? solution, the option preferred by European shipowners.
Spain, which holds the rotating EU presidency, will tell the meeting that the EU ?recognises and supports the role of the IMO as the appropriate forum to develop global frameworks which should provide a flag-neutral and un-distortive coverage of the sector to avoid carbon-leakage?.
There is no mention of the threat of regional EU legislation, though the statement underlines the IMO must now show what it is capable of.
?The IMO has now an opportunity to demonstrate that concrete measures and ambitious levels of global reductions can be delivered to keep international shipping in line with global actions to reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions,? the statement says.
The presidency document says it is ?interesting to note? that talks on bunker fuel emissions have ?received increasing attention? within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a process that runs in parallel to the IMO. But shipowners fear a UNFCCC agreement could hand out differentiated responsibilities to developed and developing nations, thereby distorting the market and leading to flagging out.
The EU presidency will stress during the London meeting that the 27-member bloc is committed to the IMO process ?to enable an international agreement that does not lead to competitive distortions or carbon leakage?.
Any agreement should be approved by the end of next year.
The EU has taken no position on the merits of market-based instruments for achieving carbon dioxide reductions. There has been debate among member states, which are split between an emissions trading scheme and a bunker fuel tax.
The MEPC draft statement simply calls for ?a robust and environmentally effective market-based measure to complement energy efficiency measures?. This should be accompanied by ?a clear timetable for its development and introduction?.
The lead up to the March 22 meeting has been marred by squabbling among EU governments over procedure. Governments initially blocked a European Commission initiative to take the lead in talks before reversing their opposition, by which time the deadline for written submissions had passed.
Given internal divisions and the magnitude of the task, there is little optimism in the EU capital that the IMO process will prove capable of laying the groundwork for market-based measures.