EU wants "zero-waste, zero-emission" goal for ships
ENDS Europe Daily, 21 January 2009 - The European commission has issued a plan to increase the competitiveness of the EU maritime sector and improve its environmental performance by 2018. The plan is also intended to meet objectives in other sectors such as energy and road transport.
The commission calls for an ambitious long-term "zero-waste, zero-emission" goal for the maritime sector. It reaffirmed its intention to table draft legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions from ships if world governments failed to agree global reductions this year.
To achieve this long-term goal, the commission would also propose to strengthen EU legislation on ship waste disposal at port facilities and improve its implementation. It would also make sure member states achieve "good environmental status" in marine waters under the new marine framework directive.
The commission wants a European environmental management system to monitor improvements in the maritime sector's environmental performance. It would also implement the forthcoming international convention on ship recycling and possibly propose further action in this area.
The next ten years represent a "unique opportunity" to strengthen the shipping sector's contribution to EU goals on sustainable transport, according to the commission. In particular, promoting short sea shipping will help reduce congestion in the road transport sector, it says.
The plan was described by maritime affairs commissioner Joe Borg as a "cornerstone" of an action plan published in October. The commission says it will consult with stakeholders on how to implement actions outlined in the ten-year plan. Its benefits will go beyond the EU, extending to the entire maritime sector, it stresses.