EU seeks approval of proposed reductions of large ships’ carbon dioxide emissions

From Figure 6 (“Distribution of CO2 emissions in the world by activity sector – 2007”) in the Nov. 2011 International Union of Railways (UIC) report: High Speed Rail and Sustainability, the transport sector contributed 23 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Meanwhile, energy’s share – electricity and heat – of CO2 emissions was 41 percent. (p. 15).1

Ship_pumping_ballast_water[1]On page 13 in the same report, meanwhile, the UIC writes: “In addition, transport energy-related CO2 emissions are predicted to increase by 1.7% a year from 2004 to 2030.”2 The UIC then goes on in said report once again on page 15 emphasizing, “Among all sectors, the transport sector is the only one in which emissions are continuing to increase in spite of all the technological advances. Moreover, transport emissions, for instance in Europe, increased by 25% between 1990 and 2010. By contrast emissions from the industrial and energy sectors are falling. Reducing transport emissions is therefore one of the most crucial steps in combatting global warming and securing our future.”3

Now, according to information in a June 28, 2013 Europa press release, the European Commission revealed that in this day and age in the transport sector, maritime accounts for 3 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 4 percent of GHG emissions in Europe.4

“Without action they are expected to increase significantly in the future, in line with expected increases in trade volumes between all continents. Such growth would undermine efforts being undertaken in other sectors to reduce the EU’s overall GHG emissions,” the European Commission noted.

With regard to maritime transport, the EU (European Union) is proposing action that would call for reductions of CO2 emissions from such.

In the release the European Commission pointed out, “The EU-wide system of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) proposed is expected to cut CO2 emissions from the journeys covered by up to 2% compared with a ‘business as usual’ situation, according to the Commission’s impact assessment. The system would also reduce net costs to owners by up to €1.2 billion per year in 2030.”

The proposal, also according to the European Commission in the release, is to now be considered by the European Parliament and Council. To become law, the proposal must be approved.

“The proposal will create an EU-wide legal framework for collecting and publishing verified annual data on CO2 emissions from all large ships (over 5 000 gross tons) that use EU ports, irrespective of where the ships are registered,” the European Commission added.

If approved, the rules would go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2018.


  1. International Union of Railways, High Speed Rail and Sustainability, International Union of Railways’ report, Nov. 2011, p. 15,
  2. Ibid. p. 13
  3. Ibid. p. 15
  4. The European Union describes Europa as follows: “ is the official website of the European Union,” from the “About EUROPA,” page,

Published by Alan Kandel