16.12.2019 14:26:36 //
Kari Martiala
Veikko Somerpuro

Shipping sector to join EU Emissions Trading System

Shipping will be highly involved in the EU’s planned European Green Deal. 

According to preliminary information, in March 2020 the Commission will present an extension to its Emissions Trading System as part of the Green Deal. “The shipping sector will join the emissions trading system in conjunction with this extension,” says Päivi Wood, Senior Advisor on transport and economic policy at the Chamber of Commerce.

Emissions trading for shipping has been discussed before. In October 2017, a trading system for the shipping sector had still not been created, in spite of many attempts. The sector’s view was that, in order to ensure a balanced competitive environment, a solution should be sought globally at IMO level rather than at EU level. 

“At the same time, however, there was also a feeling in the air that an EU emissions trading system would have created the pressure required to find global solutions more quickly. The final decision at EU level was to give shipping companies more time to reach their targets for reducing CO2 emissions. When it was decided that the shipping sector would not join the Emissions Trading System, it was also decided that EU shipping would fall within the scope of the trading system in 2023, unless an IMO-level agreement to reduce emissions was in place by that time.”

An IMO-level agreement was reached in spring 2018: greenhouse gas emissions from shipping would be reduced by at least half by 2050 (compared to the 2008 level). According to the new Commission’s objectives, Europe should be carbon neutral by 2050, which is inconsistent with the 2050 objective set by the IMO.   

New Commission accelerates its Green Deal programme

Last July, the new President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, set the development of the Green Deal as her first target while presenting her views on the Commission’s presidency to MEPs. She argued that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 50–55 per cent by 2030, and committed to presenting both the European Green Deal plan and the European Climate Act during her first one hundred days in the presidency. 

In her first speech after being elected, von der Leyen appointed Frans Timmermans as the Executive Vice President in charge of the European Green Deal. The task given to Timmermans’ chamber is to present the European Green Deal within one hundred days of the new Commission’s mandate and to coordinate a new Just Transition Fund. 

During the first one hundred days, he must also present the new European Climate Act, with the objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. The Green Deal is therefore an integral part of the Commission and Parliament’s agenda.