EU adopts regulation on sustainable marine fuels: Unfortunately not full speed ahead

Press Release: After ten hours, the negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Member States on an EU regulation on sustainable fuels for maritime transport (“FUEUM”) ended. The new EU regulation aimed to set targets for the use of sustainable fuels in maritime transport.

While maritime shipping will be included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme ETS, rules for fossil-free fuels are also needed to give the industry investment security and to address climate neutrality at sea as well. 77 percent of Europe’s foreign trade is carried by sea. At the same time, maritime shipping is responsible for 13.5 percent of European transport emissions, and the trend is rising. Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and oil leaks endanger the health of marine animals and plants and threaten the biodiversity in our seas.

The compromise found at the end of the last trialogue falls far short of what would be technically possible and necessary from a climate policy perspective.

Jutta Paulus, MEP of the Greens/EFA Group responsible for the negotiations in the Transport Committee, comments:


“The European Union is missing the opportunity to set ambitious quotas for sustainable marine fuels. Instead of making Europe a leader in the research and development of sustainable fuels and marine propulsion, the EU limits itself to microscopic quotas for the 2020s and provides no incentives for additional investments in sustainable synthetic fuels. Moreover, the new regulation for sustainable fuels in maritime transport resembles a Swiss cheese due to numerous exceptions. It remains to be hoped that the requirements of the regulation will be overtaken by reality, because ambitious shipping companies are already waiting in the wings. Nevertheless, a step forward from the status quo was achieved tonight: the world’s first law for alternative fuels in international maritime shipping.”

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