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A policy to cut shipping emissions that is condemned as ‘disaster’

A draft of EU policy that is made to cut the carbon emissions in shipping which is one of the world’s biggest polluters and was described as the environment disaster for promoting liquified natural gas, a fossil fuel, as an alternative to heavy oil.

The NGO has analysed the plans and will lock in the uses of fossil fuels for decades so that EU’s net emissions will be neutral by 2050. The green fuel law for EU shipping draft that the Guardian reveals in the European Commission was rejected requiring a specific green fuels to be used by shipowners.

Brussels has instead set a goal that would increase the “greenhouse gas intensity targets” to be met for the energy used on board. This approach “answers the needs for flexibility, which have been stressed by stakeholders during the consultation activities” rather than a “prescriptive” fuel regulation which is according to the commission’s leaked paper.

The decision to lock the use of fossil fuels has been closely studied and argued by the NGO and T&E in the form of LNG. The Transport and Environment (T&E) claimed that the “flexible” policy will encourage the price-sensitive shipowners to opt for LNG ships as the cheaper solutions over the zero-emissions fuels such as green hydrogen or ammonia.

According to T&E that most LNG-powered ships emit more greenhouse gas than the heavy fuel oil ships.

The NGO’s shipping programme director, Faig Abbasov said that the commission still had time to change the policy to explicitly exclude fossil LNG and first-generation biofuels from the scope of the regulation.

He said: “This supposedly green fuels law would push the cheapest alternatives, which are also the most destructive.

“Counting fossil gas and biofuels as green will lock shipping into decades of further pollution while we should be promoting carbon-free, renewable hydrogen and ammonia. There’s still time to kick out fossil fuels and stop the European Green Deal turning shipping’s transition into an ecological disaster.”

The target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is at least 55% by 2030 and will become a climate neutral by 2050 which requires 90% reduction in transport emissions by 2050. Renewable and low-carbon fuels is the aim of the commission representing between 6% and 9% of the international maritime transport fuel mix in 2030 and 86% and 88% by 2050.

The European Commission spokesperson declined to comment on the leaked policy document, but said: “Air and maritime transport have significant decarbonisation challenges in the next decades, due to the current lack of market ready zero-emission technologies, long development and life cycles of aircraft and vessels, the significant investments required in refueling equipment and infrastructure, and international competition in these sectors.”

“EU international emissions from navigation and aviation have grown by more than 50% since 1990. Action in these sectors is urgently needed, including as they recover from the current crisis, and we will make proposals as part of our ‘Fit for 55 Package’ to address these challenges.”

“The ReFuelEU Aviation and FuelEU Maritime initiatives are intended to boost the production and uptake of sustainable aviation and maritime fuels.”

The industry is also understood to have concerns over the sustainability of biofuels mandated for use but has been broadly supportive of the draft regulation’s flexibility.

Claes Berglund, the president of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations, said: “The European shipping sector is committed to decarbonise the shipping industry as quickly as possible. However, shipowners cannot be held accountable for the quality of fuels. This is the sole responsibility of fuel suppliers.”

Article inspired from theguardian.com

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