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European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen

European Green Deal includes shipping to tackle emissions

The European Commission (EC) has announced on Wednesday the inclusion of shipping in the European Green Deal under which several policy initiatives aim to put Europe on track to reach net-zero global warming emissions by 2050.

The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) has welcomed the announcement made by EC president Ursula von der Leyen.

“It is an ambitious plan that Europe will carry out to bring to the table the much-needed leadership in this global climate emergency,” said Martin Dorsman, secretary-general of ECSA.

“European shipping is the leading segment in the global shipping industry. Through innovation and deployment, we show the rest of the world shipping can be highly competitive while moving towards zero emission,” Dorsman said.

The ECSA said shipping is considered an energy-efficient mode of transport with CO2 emissions per tonne-kilometre substantially lower than other modes. And despite increases in trade volume, global shipping lowered its CO2 emissions between 2008 and 2018 by 19%, according to Clarksons Research data.

Yet much more still needs to be done, ECSA pointed out.

“The biggest challenge facing the industry is the development and global availability of alternative and innovative green technologies and carbon-neutral fuels and energy sources. The pledge in the proposal to ramp up the production and deployment of such fuels and the necessary infrastructure is very much welcomed by the industry,” Dorsman said.

“Shifting to smart and safe zero-emission shipping requires a radical change throughout the whole maritime industry and its supply chain, from fuels producers to the crew on board. European shipping is ready to work with the European Commission and the European Parliament, together with our maritime partners, to turn the goals of the European Green Deal into reality,” he added.

The overarching objective of the European Green Deal is to achieve a ‘climate neutral’ Europe of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, a goal that will be enshrined in a law to be presented in March 2020.

Under the transportation initiatives, ‘sustainable alternative fuels’ such as biofuels and hydrogen will be promoted in aviation, heavy duty road vehicles and shipping where electrification is currently not possible.

“This is Europe’s man on the moon moment,” von der Leyen said in a video statement. “Our goal is to reconcile the economy with our planet” and “to make it work for our people.”

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