International shipping is the only means of transportation not included in the EU’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So monitoring CO2 emissions from ships makes environmental sense. In November 2017 an agreement was reached between the European Parliament and Council to establish a mechanism for monitoring, reporting and verifying maritime emissions. The aim of the new regulation is to improve the level of information about maritime CO2 emissions with respect to ships’ fuel consumption, transport work and energy efficiency. This will enable emissions trends and ship performance to be analysed. And in the longer term, the data gathered will allow the EU to “play an influential role in the negotiations within the International Maritime Organisation, with a view to finding ambitious solutions that combine environmental protection with development”, as Gian Luca Galletti, the Italian Environment Minister recently said.
The new rules do not apply to all vessels above 5,000 gross tons, as warships, naval auxiliaries, fish-catching or -processing ships, wooden ships of primitive construction, ships not propelled by mechanical means and government vessels used for non-commercial purposes are excluded. But since 1 January owners of ships covered by the regulation have been obliged to monitor CO2 emissions for each ship on a per voyage and annual basis. And that certainly is a significant step forward in tackling maritime greenhouse gas emissions.