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European Commission - Press release

Reducing greenhouse gases from ships: time is ticking away

Brussels, 28 June 2011 - European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas and Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard are meeting today with the shipping industry, Member States and the European Parliament to discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in the short, medium and long term. In particular, they will look at how international negotiations can be moved forward.

Participants are expected to call for the adoption of the Energy Efficient Design Index developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the next meeting of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee in July. The index contains technical requirements to improve the design of new ships in order to reduce both their fuel consumption and emissions. The adoption of the index would give a positive signal that international negotiations at IMO can deliver concrete contributions to combating climate change.

Some countries have so far refused to engage constructively in the debate at the IMO. Today's meeting will discuss how these international negotiations can result in concrete actions. Specifically, the meeting will look at what can be learned from other multi-regional cooperation initiatives on transport and environment issues, and how these experiences could be applied to reduce emissions from ships.

The EU committed itself to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by at least 20% across all sectors. The 2008 legislation provides that if no international agreement was approved which included international maritime emissions by the end of 2011, the Commission should make a proposal to include these in the EU reduction commitment. If IMO or the UNFCCC do not reach a satisfactory agreement by the end of this year, the Commission will prepare the necessary proposal.

Vice-President Kallas said: "We have recognized in our White Paper on Transport that shipping must contribute to our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For a global sector such as maritime transport, measures which are the most environmentally effective and make economic sense can best be achieved through the IMO. The EU will continue its efforts to achieve an international solution. We look forward to working together with other countries, regions and organisations to tackle this challenge successfully without delay."

Commissioner Hedegaard said: "It is high time for an agreement in the International Maritime Organization. Much as we prefer a global solution, the Member States and the European Parliament have asked the Commission to present a possible proposal to reduce shipping emissions for 2012 in the case that the IMO fails to find a solution. Today's meeting is a part of the necessary engagement to move forward".

Contacts :

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)


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