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EU considers including shipping in its emissions trading scheme

Shipping currently accounts for about 3.3% of global man-made carbon dioxide emissions. A United Nations agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed on energy efficiency design standards for ships to reduce CO2 emissions in July, but developing countries will probably delay implementing these standards by way of a waiver. According to an IMO study, shipping emissions could grow by 150% to 250% by 2050 if regulation is not put in place. The European Commission has threatened to pursue market-based mechanisms which includes shipping in its emissions trading scheme (ETS). Inclusion of shipping in an ETS probably would take at least five to six years, according to one estimate. To deter future action from the EU, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents more than 80% of the global seaborne industry, has sent a letter to the EU’s Climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, saying that the IMO was “eminently capable” of delivering a global CO2 solution for shipping, Reuters reported. “It is our hope that this will be sufficient to dissuade the European Union from pursuing the development of its own CO2 regime for shipping which, as well as risking serious market distortion, could result with emissions reduction measures being taken on a regional basis only,” ICS Chairman Spyros Polemis wrote. A Commission spokesman said it was looking at the options on how the maritime sector could further contribute to the emissions reduction efforts. “Progress at IMO on agreeing market-based measures needs to be pursued, but this does not mean that the Commission will not propose anything for maritime next year,” the spokesman said. (July 29, 2011)