The European Commission has proposed creating an EU-wide legal framework that would require shipowners using EU ports to monitor and report carbon dioxide emissions starting in 2018.
The European Parliament and the European Council must approve the proposal before it becomes law.
Monitoring would include voyages between, to and from all ports in the European Union. Data to determine the ship’s emissions efficiency also may have to be provided, according to a press release by the European Commission.
Comissioner Siim Kallas called the proposal a “significant contribution” to emissions-reduction efforts.
"We recognize that shipping must contribute to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, preferably through global measures, which are the most environmentally effective and make economic sense,” he said in a statement. “On the basis of today's policy outline, the EU will continue its efforts, jointly with its global partners, to achieve a comprehensive international solution.
The EUuropean Union's commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, added that the new rules will create incentives for carriers to cut emissions and will bring much-needed transparency to the table.
“Robust monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions is an essential precondition for informed discussions in Europe and worldwide on reduction targets for the sector,” she said in a statement.
According to officials, these new rules would only serve as a building block toward a global system created by the International Maritime Organization. When, and if, a global system is set up, the EU rules would be adapted into the global guidelines. As of now, no punishment for excessive carbon emitters has been outlined.
The maritime proposal is much the same path the European Union has paved in regard to airline emissions. In 2012, the European Union started applying airline emissions to its emissions trading scheme, placing airlines flying into the European Union on a cap-and-trade path to environmental responsibility.
For the first year, airlines were given free emissions credits, so in effect, nobody was punished for flying into European airspace with emissions over the cap level, but the European Union was to start charging dirty airlines this year. Due to an international uproar, the commission has suspended the plan in favor of a global approach to be developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization. - Jon Ross