The Clean Arctic Alliance today applauded progress by International Maritime Organization member states towards banning use of the world’s dirtiest fuel - heavy fuel oil - from Arctic shipping, and called for Member States to make every effort to adopt and rapidly implement a ban by 2021, as proposed by eight IMO Member States and supported by other countries during the meeting.

Today’s commitment by governments to require international shipping to decarbonise and at least halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is a welcome and potentially game changing development, the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC) has said. But the lack of any clear plan of action to deliver the emissions reductions, including urgently needed short-term measures, is a major concern, according to the group of NGOs[1] with observer status at the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

 

Seas At Risk, together with its NGO partners in the Rethink Plastic Alliance, has sent an open letter to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, challenging the Parliament to move from rhetoric to practice and stop its use of enormous quantities of plastic water bottles.

Sofia, Bulgaria, 10 April 2018:- As the Council of EU Environment Ministers meeting opens today in Sofia, 172,120 signatures from EU citizens calling for the EU to protect our seas and end overfishing were received by State Secretary for Environment of Sweden, Per Ängquist.

With less than two years to go before the 2020 deadline, urgent action is needed to safeguard European seas and ensure their continued health and productivity, as required by the EU Marine Directive. An EU-wide coalition of NGOs, led by Seas At Risk, proposes a series of concrete actions to help Member States to deliver on their legal commitment to restore our seas to ‘Good Environmental Status’.

On 10 April, EU Environment Ministers gathered in Sofia for an informal meeting of the Environment Council to discuss improvements to the implementation of EU environmental law, among other things. Seas At Risk, WeMove and OurFish were there to give voice to the 172,120 EU citizens who believe that the Member States are failing to deliver on their commitment to clean, healthy and ecologically diverse seas by 2020, as required by the EU Marine Directive. A drastic change in implementation efforts is needed, together with strengthened political will, if healthy EU seas are to become a reality in the next two years.

On 5th March, the European Policy Centre, together with the Mission of Norway to the European Union, hosted the Policy Dialogue Plastics and Oceans: How can Europe end further discharge into the oceans? Seas At Risk’s Marine Litter Policy Officer, Emma Priestland, was in attendance, to share the message that ocean plastics are not an impossible problem to solve, provided immediate action is taken. Several solutions are already available to make this happen.

Moves to close a loophole in enforcement of the cap on high-sulphur marine fuel, which comes into effect in January 2020, have been welcomed by the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC), of which Seas At Risk is member. Ships will be banned at that time from burning any marine fuel with a sulphur content above 0.5%, but the ban does not prevent ships from carrying fuel exceeding the 0.5% limit. This opens up the possibility of massive avoidance by unscrupulous operators when operating out of sight on the high seas.

A recent debate at the European Parliament saw the European Commission and Azorean government representatives question the need for deep-sea mining. Both sides advocated a precautionary approach and stated that critical raw materials would be more effectively addressed through the circular economy.

On 16th January, as part of its 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the European Parliament adopted a strong resolution on international ocean governance, including a very welcome commitment to move towards ending the use of heavy fuel oil by ships in the Arctic.