EU Law serves as a first step on the long path towards protecting the environment

By Curious

All shipping companies that use EU ports will from now on have to record and publicly report carbon emissions. The new law was passed by a vast majority of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee. The transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) is of the opinion that this current version of the law is not very relevant due to the fact that it only monitors fuel consumption and does nothing to reduce it, plus it only encompasses CO2 and excludes air pollutants such as SO2 or NOx but it can still serve as a trigger mechanism for fuel savings even if in an indirect manner.

According to EU law, ship operators will have to publicly report three metrics by which to measure the environmental performance of their ships: the first one is the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) meaning the theoretical energy performance of the ship; second – the real-world fuel consumption; and third – it’s energy efficiency which is calculated by dividing the amount of fuel by the amount of cargo. Meaning that if ship A can carry more cargo than ship B and use the same amount of fuel, then Ship A is more efficient and cheaper to operate.

The publication of the real energy efficiency of ships will enable shipping users all around the world to check out relevant data in order to determine the most efficient vessels and practices available. This could very well lead to an increase in the competition aspect among operators which itself will result in fuel savings and emission reductions.

Sotiris Raptis, clean shipping officer at T&E hold the opinion that this decision does not affect the cutting of CO2 and fuel use directly but it can very well make it happen indirectly. It’s in everybody’s personal interest to have access to such information as it enables us to make better-informed decisions regarding what types of ships, companies and routes to choose. This measure will lay down the foundations for the one to follow after it, that will impose the reduction of emissions, which is really the major priority.

At this very moment ships take account for over 3% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It was estimated roughly by the Commission that ships that sailed in European waters in 2010 were responsible for 180 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. In a scenario where all of these emissions were to be the product of a single country, that country would have ranked as the 8th largest emitter in Europe.

According to a report from the UN’s shipping body that came out last month, if measures are not taken sooner rather later, shipping could very well account for 10% of the global GHG emissions by the year 2050.