EU push towards green transport is positive but risks blocking fossil gases
Originally posted on Transport & Environment.
By Eoin Bannon
The EU has published proposals for the shipping industry to finally pay for its pollution and fossil fuels – and to start using cleaner maritime fuels. However, the sector’s first global mandate to “green” fuel would actually boost the use of LNG, a fossil fuel, said green group Transport & Environment (T&E).
Under the proposed Maritime ETS, shipping companies will have to purchase carbon credits for their pollution when traveling in Europe and for 50% of their emissions when traveling between EU ports and non-EU ports. EU or vice versa. T&E welcomed proposals to extend the EU’s emissions trading system to shipping and, for the first time, to tax shipping companies for some of the fossil fuels they buy. The sector has evaded tax for decades and has even been exempt from recent global minimum corporate tax requirements agreed upon by world leaders.
Faig Abbasov, Director of Shipping Program at T&E, said: “The EU is finally making shipping polluters pay. Now, legislators must defend a carbon market that covers extra-European travel, so that the largest shipping companies are not taken off the hook. ETS revenues are expected to be reinvested in the deployment of zero emission ships, port charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
But worryingly, the FuelEU Maritime proposal could lead to more than half (55%) of the energy used by ships calling at EU ports to be LNG and biofuels by 2035, according to T&E analysis. And this despite the fact that LNG offers minimal emission reductions and releases methane, a greenhouse gas up to 36 times more powerful than CO2.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has proposed a new Infrastructure Act (AFIR) forcing major ports to spend billions to install gas-refueling infrastructure for ships, helping to lock in decades of fossil fuel combustion. In contrast, there is no legislation requiring or encouraging the deployment of truly sustainable electric fuels based on green hydrogen.
Faig Abbasov said: “The World Bank, IEA, shipyards and shipowners now recognize the central role of green hydrogen in decarbonizing shipping. The Commission remains the one major institution still recklessly pushing the industry to invest in LNG ships that will lock us into decades of additional pollution and stranded assets. Instead, governments and MEPs should focus on promoting renewable hydrogen and ammonia.