Why the merchant ships can pollute the atmosphere with CO2 quite freely

Environment Council - December 2014. EU Ministers of Environment met in Brussels on 17 December 2014. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (in the forefront) also participated in the meeting. (European Council - Council of the European Union, Audiovisual service presse.audiovisuel@consilium.europa.eu)

Environment Council – December 2014. EU Ministers of Environment met in Brussels on 17 December 2014. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (in the forefront) also participated in the meeting. (European Council – Council of the European Union, Audiovisual service presse.audiovisuel@consilium.europa.eu)

Last Wednesday the European Union Environment ministers reached an agreement… essentially to not to impose rules or duties on CO2 emissions from ships. Cunningly, the relevant Council Press release said that the 28 ministers “reached an agreement on new EU-wide rules for CO2 emissions from ships”. Until today, ocean-going shipping is the only sector of transport still escaping any gas emission rules or taxation, and apparently that is not going to change in the foreseeable future. This is not an EU peculiarity, but a worldwide generosity to mercantile marine and of course to ship-owners. But can the EU Council mislead the public opinion that flagrantly? It seems that it can.

Let’s see where the Catch 22 lies. Starting from the beginning, the Council obviously deceives us all, when it refers to ‘new rules’ in relation to CO2 emissions of ocean-going ships. Simply there aren’t any. Yes, there are rules about the cleanness and the sulphur content of the fuel used by ships, when they call at EU ports. Those rules have been imposed a long time ago, because the sulphur dioxide emissions (SO2) had been unbearable for many overcrowded European seaports.

New rules? What new rules?

However, no controls or any rules of any kind whatsoever exist to this date on CO2 emissions from ships, when they reach an EU port, let alone when they relentlessly steam ahead on the lawless international waters of the congested sea routes. Not to forget that invariably all the air and land transport means are meticulously controlled and in many ways taxed according to their CO2 emissions. Probably not as much as some people might want, but surely they pay for their gas emissions. Not the ships.

There is one argument usually advanced by politicians, when the discussion reaches the burning questions of pollution and taxation, in relation to the merchant marine; they claim that ‘ships fare on international high seas and nobody can catch them there’. Unquestionably, this is a good reasoning and will be dealt here below. In any case tough merchant ships have to reach a European port, if they are to be involved in the lucrative transport activities associated to EU’s international trade of mammoth dimensions.

Political…unwillingness

Not to forget that the EU was quite capable of forcing the international shipping community to build double-hulled tanker ships. Brussels simply set a date after which no single-hulled oil tankers could call at a European port. It was enough to change the picture of the oil tanker industry. This proves that if the EU had the political will, it could impose more rules on the shipping marine. Simply in the case of CO2 emissions the EU seems to lack the willingness. A series of accidents involving oil tankers and huge quantities of oil spills destroying miles of European coasts, forced the EU to act. The European beaches seem to have a strong representation in Brussels, while the stratosphere doesn’t.

Coming back to the Council’s Press Release, it gives the impression of having some kind of answers to the question of controlling the CO2 emission of ships, while they rove on international waters. It says, “From 1 January 2018, ship-owners will be obliged to monitor emissions for each ship on a per voyage and an annual basis. There are also provisions on monitoring and reporting, verification and accreditation, and compliance and publication of information as well as international cooperation”.

Generous to ship-owners

The first striking point in this text is the generous six years adjournment, given to ship-owners before the application of any measure. Secondly, there is a conspicuous absence of reference to a duty payment, related even remotely to the volume of the emissions of the vessel. This is in direct contrast with the practices followed in the cases of land and air means of transport, which are thoroughly controlled and taxed according to their CO2 emissions. Not to say anything about the heavily burdened with levies on CO2 volumes, produced in the electricity generation sector.

Now let’s challenge the other Catch 22 included in the above passage of the Council’s Press release. It says that ship-owners will be obliged to measure – obviously with devices installed on their ships – the CO2 emitted. Then it adds that there will be “provisions on monitoring and reporting, verification and accreditation, and compliance and publication of information as well as international cooperation”.

Playing with the meters

Now let’s become as cynical as ship-owners are. For one thing, all those meters and installations to measure the exhaust of the combustion can be compromised while at high seas and restored to regular when calling at a port. The Press release though provides more possibilities to neutralise the entire effort, in case that the CO2 measuring devices cannot be rigged. It says “there will be provision…on…international cooperation”.

It seems that this is the heart or probably the tomb of the entire affair. The hidden Catch 22 is that the EU will expect the Asian, African and North and South American countries to cooperate, in order the Union to introduce a reliable method to measure CO2 emissions of ships. Obviously until the entire world is ready to apply the same measures as the EU, Europe won’t do anything on its own.

Shipowners may rest reassured

It’s more than certain then that the merchant marine doesn’t run any danger of being subject to measuring or even levied for its CO2 emissions. At least not in the foreseeable future. Ship-owners may rest reassured that the EU will never subject them to this extra cost, which can burden the European exports and imports, with an unwanted and ‘senseless’ cost. If the rest of the world doesn’t want it why should we rush? Not to forget that the Commission was pressed on many occasions to make a proposal to measure or even tax the CO2 emissions of ships, but until recently it resisted them all. Now that the EU’s executive arm was forced, for some reason, to act, it paid attention to make it toothless.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

European Young Innovators Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: Europe for StartUps, vision 2020

Competing with Apple and leading innovation: Google’s world replies to EU on android charges

Who and why want the EU-US trade agreement here and now

Robot inventors are on the rise. But are they welcomed by the patent system?

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

The West and Russia impose a new order on the world

GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas

‘Unconscionable’ to kill aid workers, civilians: UN Emergency Coordinator

The global issue of migration in 2017

A new global financial crisis develops fast; who denies it?

Breaking news: Juncker’s Commission mutant trojan horse is on the loose in Strasbourg

ECOFIN: Protecting bankers and tax-evaders

The European Brain Drain: a truth or a myth?

At Ministerial session, UN regional office in Beirut to focus on technology for sustainable development

Can We(esterners) ever understand (the) Chinese

Commission: Raising the social issues that can make or break the monetary union

How we can work together in the fight against NCDs

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

Nicaragua must end ‘witch-hunt’ against dissenting voices – UN human rights experts

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

A week to decide if the EU is to have a Banking Union

2014 budget: The EU may prove unable to agree on own resources

Big data is coming to agriculture. Farmers must set its course

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

Inaction on obesity stands in the way of sustainable development

China dazzles the world with her Silk Road plan to connect, Asia, Europe and Africa

The entire Australian state of New South Wales is in drought

It’s time for the world to stand up behind South Africa

A Sting Exclusive: “China is Making Good Stories not Bad Ones”, Ambassador Yang highlights from Brussels

New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

German and French bankers looted the Irish and Spanish unemployed

The JADE Spring Conference 2017 is casting its shadows before

Preparing the future today: World Health Organisation and young doctors

EU: Huge surplus in the trade of services with the rest of the world

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

European Commission reacts to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium affecting the EU

Why we need both science and humanities for a Fourth Industrial Revolution education

This is how AI can help you make sense of the world

MEP Cristiana Muscardini @ European Business Summit 2014: International Trade in Europe

China is adding a London-sized electric bus fleet every five weeks

A Sting Exclusive: “Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the new Sustainable Development Agenda”, Ulf Björnholm underscores from UNEP Brussels

Stricter rules and tougher sanctions for market manipulation and financial fraud

Greece and Ukraine main items on EU28 menu; the course is set

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

Global health challenges require global medical students

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

EU cracks under the weight of its policy on the Ukraine-Russia nub

Aidex: the Global Humanitarian and Development Aid Event

MWC 2016 LIVE: BT chief aims to be at UK 5G forefront

UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan

Commission sets moderate greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030

India-UN fund gets 22 development projects off the ground in first year

In Tokyo, UN chief expresses full support for US-Japan dialogue with North Korea

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

The ECB tells Berlin that a Germanic Eurozone is unacceptable and doesn’t work

Disaster Medicine in Medical Education: the investment you just can´t afford to ignore

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s