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“Don’t overburden shipping sector” – MEP Kelly vows to fight for Irish ports against threat of rising shipping costs

Published: Wed, 07 September 2016

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MEP for Ireland South and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, has called on Parliamentary colleagues to halt discussions on the inclusion of the maritime sector in the EU Emissions Trading System – the flagship climate action instrument of the EU – stating that its inclusion in the system, on top of new emissions rules due to be introduced by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), could cripple the competitiveness of the EU shipping sector. 

Speaking on Monday, MEP Kelly highlighted the vital need to reduce emissions in the shipping sector through the IMO, adding that putting shipping into the EU-ETS could have significant consequences for Irish and European ports. 

“Following on from the Paris Climate Agreement last December, there is no doubt that every part of our economy must contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. However we must be efficient about how we do this and different instruments will be needed for different sectors. 

“There are significant efforts currently underway to limit international maritime emissions through the International Maritime Organisation and I think we in the EU must be fully engaged with this process and ensure an effective action plan on climate change is put in place at IMO level. 

“Despite these promising developments, however, there are a number of Members of Parliament calling for the maritime sector to be included in the ETS. Sometimes one would wonder if certain politicians are hell bent on making Europe uncompetitive with the rest of the world.  

“Adding additional requirements of the ETS onto future IMO requirements would add significant costs to shipping in Europe and significantly impact the ability of European ports to compete as a result – think of what this could do to the ports of Foynes, Waterford, Cork. I think these calls are extremely irresponsible and I call on the MEPs pushing this idea to consider the consequences.” 

MEP Kelly, who represented the European Parliament at COP21 in Paris in December, has pushed for ambition on Climate action in the EU since his appointment to lead Parliamentary discussions on Climate Change in 2015. He has identified the shipping sector as one that needs to contribute more to global climate efforts, but said that the ETS is not the instrument to do so. 

“Last year we successfully put in place a regulation (Council Regulation 2015/757) that lays down the rules for the accurate monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from the maritime sector. This will enable us to properly take action at IMO level on a sector that is very much global by nature. 

“Climate action on shipping is needed, but it is IMO – not ETS – action that will be most effective in this sector”, he concluded. 

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