EU Parliament signals clean fuel move with FuelEU Maritime vote

The European Parliament has voted on the sustainable maritime fuels initiative known as FuelEU Maritime, paving the way for green fuels and shore power to be mandated on vessels.


Europe’s lawmakers voted today in favour of a 2% mandate for green shipping fuels by 2030.


Parliament wants the maritime sector to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships by 2% as of 2025, 20% as of 2035 and 80% as of 2050 compared to 2020 level (the Commission proposed a 13% and 75% reduction).


The rule applies to all energy used onboard on voyages between and in EU ports, and to 50% of the energy used on voyages between EU and non-EU ports.


MEPs also set a target of 2% of renewable fuels usage and mandated containerships and passenger ships to use on-shore power supply while at berth at main EU ports as of 2030.


In a press statement the European Parliament press office stated: “To ensure compliance, MEPs favour the introduction of penalties. Revenues generated from these should go to the Ocean Fund and contribute to decarbonising the maritime sector, energy efficiency and zero-emission propulsion technologies.”


While this is a significant step, it is far from a given as the amendment still requires European Commission and Council acceptance.

Lobby group Transport and Environment has welcomes the move, calling it the “first measure to decarbonise shipping fuels” but says much more has to be done.


Delphine Gozillon, sustainable shipping officer at T&E, is quoted in its announcement in response to the news as saying.


“The green shipping fuel mandate will kickstart the production of hydrogen-based fuels by providing investment security for fuel producers. But 2% will not be enough if we are to stick to 1.5 degrees. The EU must build on this and go bolder. There is a clear will to clean up the shipping industry.”


T&E has called on the EU to raise the mandate – otherwise known as a sub-quota – to at least 6% in 2035 and said it believes a reduction to incentives for fossil gas (LNG) will shorten the lifetime of LNG as a fuel.


The Parliament vote has hover been labelled a failure by one group of MEPS’s, the Greens, who said it will not meet the blocs own climate targets.


In a press message from the office of Jutta Paulus, a German Green MEP, it said: 


“A majority of conservatives, liberals and social democrats in the European Parliament wants to relieve the shipping industry of its obligations in climate and environmental protection, although the European Union officially advocates stricter requirements on the international stage. In doing so, the European Parliament is also going against the will of the industry and several EU Member States.


For more sustainable shipping, we need to turn the tide – towards a greenhouse gas reduction target of 100 per cent by 2050, an ambitious quota for renewable fuels of non-biological origin and an extension to the ship sizes defined in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.”

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