The European Parliament and the European Council have embraced the calls of the industry stakeholders to earmark European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) revenues back to the maritime sector to support its energy transition. European shipowners welcome this outcome.
According to European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA), at least 20 million ETS allowances, which correspond to US$1.56 billion under the current ETS carbon price, will be allocated to maritime projects under the Innovation Fund.
The provisional agreement on shipping is subject to an overall agreement on the ETS revision in late December.
“European shipowners welcome the increased climate ambition of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, recognising that the climate crisis is one of the greatest economic and environmental challenges faced by our society. Decarbonising shipping is not a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘how’. Setting aside part of the ETS revenues for maritime is a victory for the decarbonisation of the sector," commented Sotiris Raptis, ECSA’s secretary general.
He added, "Dedicated support through the Innovation Fund is key to bridging the price gap with clean fuels, improving the energy efficiency of ships, fostering innovation and building the infrastructure in ports. We look forward to working with the Commission and the stakeholders to develop effective tools for the industry’s transition."
ECSA also welcomes the upholding of the “polluter-pays principle” through mandatory requirements for the pass-through of the EU ETS costs to the commercial operators of the vessels.
Moreover, the phase-in period and the gradual inclusion of emissions from shipping over a three-year period is also crucial to ensure a smooth transition for the sector, according to ECSA. The co-legislators also agreed on special provisions for ice-class vessels, small islands and outermost regions.
This outcome follows the maritime industry’s statements on the earmarking of the EU ETS revenues of 29 September and of 22 November.