Connie Hedegaard, the proposed EU Climate Commissioner, has made it clear that if the IMO doesn’t act fast on cutting ship GHG emissions then the EU will initiate measures.

Connie Hedegaard, the proposed EU Climate Commissioner, has made it clear that if the IMO doesn’t act fast on cutting ship GHG emissions then the EU will initiate measures.

Hedegaard was grilled on her opinions concerning EU climate change policy and shipping at a European Parliament meeting organised to allow MEPs to assess the views and ability of nominated European commissioners.

“I say to the IMO: time is running out,” Hedegaard said. “Shipping is a global sector and although it is much more preferable that the IMO does this work, I tell them they have to hurry and speed up their work.”

Pressure for EU action on GHG emissions from shipping has been building for some time and the Commission has been preparing for action including an Emissions Trading Scheme for ships visiting EU ports. Poor progress on binding measures at IMO and the absence of an agreement on shipping at the recent UNFCCC COP 15 means this pressure can only grow.

Hedegaard repeated a past EU pledge that the EU would step in and addressing shipping GHG emissions if no strong global measures had been agreed by 2011.

Hedegaard finished the hearing by concluding that “climate change is the challenge of our generation”. The more Europe hesitates, she added, the more severe and expensive the consequences will be for future generations.
She said that it would be easy after the disappointing results from COP 15 to give up on the UN process, but she urged Europe not to do so, as too much has already been invested in it – “we shouldn’t give up, too much would be wasted” she said.

Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping amount to around 3.3% of total GHG emissions, and without regulation this is projected to grow to 6% by 2020 and close to 20% by 2050.

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