Social medias, particularly Twitter, really show the best and most shameful or shocking human reactions and behaviors… Some days ago, comments regarding the tragic perspective of an increase of temperature up to 2.7° C by 2100 ranged from official calls for awareness, strong mobilization of citizens and NGOs’, to appalling denial and trivialization by the usual climate change skeptics. What however was disappointing, was to read that some world leaders were just expressing their discontent instead of committing to use their power and leadership to take strong measures and to convince each other to act… Let us see what will happen in Glasgow during the upcoming COP 26…
Youth as well as future generations will hold accountable leaders who had the capacity to act but preferred to “wait and see”. They will also be entitled to be very severe towards the most polluting industries which did not take serious measures to reduce their emissions. We need more than words and promises.
In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set an ambition for shipping to reduce its GHG emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 as compared to 2008. This was an important first step, but when we are told that we can expect an increase +2.7 ° C by 2100, it is not anymore very decent to take our time…
It is important to set a clear target for the shipping industry to be run entirely on net-zero energy sources by 2050 as promoted by the supporters of the Getting to Zero Coalition.
Deploying commercially viable zero emission vessels by 2030 operating on deep-sea trade routes, supported by the necessary infrastructure for scalable zero emission fuels and energy sources should become the priority.
Signatories of the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization plead for at least five percent zero emission fuels in international shipping by 2030. This will be possible if all parties of the maritime and port ecosystem cooperate and if governments mobilize to support zero emission technologies.
The role of regulators and more particularly EU regulators in the framework of the adoption of the “Fit for 55” package and Taxonomy rules will also be crucial. This is the only way for the EU to confirm its leadership on shipping decarbonization.
Clarity around sustainability criteria, consistency between the different “Fit for 55” proposals as well as good assessment of the risks associated with investing in zero emission vessels, infrastructure, and fuel production must remain “on top of the agenda” topics for EU co-legislators.
The FuelEU Maritime Regulation for instance imposes requirements on ships to connect to OPS by 2030 and the AFI Regulation contains targets for infrastructure deployment in TEN-T core and comprehensive maritime ports by 2025.
It is therefore welcome that the ETD revision proposal (article 15.5) allows for total or partial exemptions for electricity provided to vessels at berth. This could encourage vessel operators to increase the uptake of OPS already before it becomes mandatory by 2030.
A mandatory total exemption across all Member States, however, would produce even better results. The lower the price of connecting, the higher the likelihood that vessel operators will opt for this clean solution. Applying the same tax rate across the EU is also crucial in view of ensuring a Level Playing Field between EU ports.
Finally, in view of guaranteeing technology neutrality, which is a key enabler of innovation, the list of zero-emission technologies besides OPS allowed by the FuelEU Maritime Regulation should not be too narrow.