EU Shippers Call End-2016 Emission Reduction Goal ‘Unrealistic’

reuters logo The global shipping industry is unlikely to meet an end-2016 deadline for setting targets and developing a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Europe’s shipping industry lobby said on Friday.

The European Commission this week called on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to present measures to cut emissions by the end of 2016. The move is part of an EU pledge to cut 1990-level greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

“2016 is right around the corner and as such it is rather unrealistic to expect the IMO to come up with a solution in a matter of months,” Patrick Verhoeven, secretary general of the European Community Shipowners Associations (ESCA), said in an emailed statement.

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Debate on how to curb shipping emissions, which the Commission estimates account for 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 4 percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions, has rumbled on for years with little progress.

Maritime emissions were omitted from national commitments under the U.N’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which ceded control to the IMO, the U.N. body responsible for the sector.

There is also no reference to shipping in the latest text drawn up ahead of climate talks to be held in Paris beginning in November aimed at drawing up a global climate agreement to succeed the Kyoto pact.

Under EU rules, large ship owners will have to monitor emissions from 2018.

Benoit Loicq, the ECSA’s safety and environment director, said any efforts to cut emissions from the sector must fit in with that timetable.

“If we now backtrack and skip the data collection phase altogether, how would it be possible to set realistic and fair targets?” he said in the statement.

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; editing by Jason Neely)

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