Minister Berner: Finland strives to reduce emissions from shipping
Finland aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and to have global negotiations on concrete measures for reducing these emissions initiated next year, says Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications. The issue of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping will be negotiated in the meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in London on 22–26 October 2018.
Decisions on global shipping-related emissions and environmental questions are largely made by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). In its October meeting, the Committee intends to prepare a programme of actions to implement the initial IMO strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.
“The negotiations on concrete and as ambitious actions for reducing emission as possible must be initiated soonest possible, preferably already in 2019. It is important that the programme of actions enables introduction of short-term measures for cutting emissions at the earliest before 2023,” says Minister of Transport and Communication Anne Berner.
According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute's estimate, emissions from shipping account for 11–13 per cent of global greenhouse gas emission in the transport sector. In Finland, the shipping emissions, including also inland water transport, constitute four per cent of all transport emissions.
In addition to environmental issues, maritime plastic litter is becoming an increasingly topical theme. In its October meeting, the Committee will also initiate preparation of an action plan to address the plastic litter issue.
In spring 2018, the MEPC agreed for the first time on climate objectives for the whole maritime sector, which were recorded in the initial strategy. The committee set the target of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport by 50 per cent from the level of 2008 by 2050.
“We have to turn the emissions from shipping to a steep decline as soon as possible to be able to reach the targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Finland will be very actively involved in the finalisation of the greenhouse gas emission strategy for shipping and selection of measures for reducing the emissions,” Minister Berner points out.
As potential short-term measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions were listed such steps as improving energy efficiency of ships, and research and development activities, and proposed long-term measures included introduction of alternative fuels.
IMO has already earlier agreed on regulation that has significantly improved the energy efficiency of vessels, thus reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from new ships. Limitations have also been set on the nitrogen and sulphur emissions from ships.
“The maritime sulphur emissions have reduced significantly on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea since the sulphur limitations entered into force in 2015. The nitrogen emissions of new ships to be built will also be restricted on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea as from 2021,” Minister Berner states.
A global sulphur limit will be implemented in 2020, which is also an issue on the agenda of the October meeting.
The Paris Climate Agreement does not include any separate entries on greenhouse gas emissions from shipping or air traffic, but it lays down a more extensive goal to limit the rise in the average global temperature. Shipping accounts for approximately 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Without any reduction measures, the greenhouse gas emissions are expected to grow by 50–250 per cent in the coming decades.