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EU’s good intentions create obstacles

The EU's good intentions of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping could be hampered by two measures that interact poorly with each other. This is shown in a new report commissioned by Danish Shipping.


The road to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55% in the EU by 2030 may be more difficult than first assumed.

As part of the EU’s green legislative package “Fit for 55”, two of the measures targeted at shipping could interact poorly with each other. This is shown in a new report prepared by the research and consulting agency CE Delft and commissioned by Danish Shipping.

“As the proposals from the Commission are at present, there is room for improvement and a need for homogeneity. Otherwise, the legal requirements risk creating obstacles. This is a shame, and therefore we hope that we can help to remedy this with this report,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn, director of Climate, Environment and Security at Danish Shipping.

It concerns the two initiatives “FuelEU Maritime” and “ETS” (EU Emissions Trading System). In the coming years, Fuel EU Maritime will require shipping companies to use more and more green fuel in their tanks, and ETS (EU Emissions Trading System) will set a price on CO2 emissions to increase the use of green fuels.

According to the new report, the problem is that while FuelEU Maritime looks at all greenhouse gases and the entire fuel value chain, ETS only looks at the greenhouse gas CO2, and only at emissions during actual combustion. In FuelEU Maritime, the total climate footprint of extraction, refining, distribution and finally combustion is assessed, while the climate calculation for ETS is simpler.

“Both tools will reduce greenhouse gases, but if they are to function optimally and contribute to the most effective reduction, the two bills must be adjusted so that they fit better together,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn.

Danish Shipping specifically proposes that the ETS should simply apply to all greenhouse gases and take into account the entire fuel value chain. Danish Shipping is actively using the report to draw attention to the problem, and not least the relatively simple solution. So there has been dialogue with EU negotiators from various countries, members of the European Parliament, interest groups and the European Commission.

“In general, the issue is arousing great interest, and the task is now to ensure that necessary changes are incorporated in the ETS proposal,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn.


From the outset, Danish Shipping has welcomed the Commission’s “Fit for 55” proposal and has highlighted a number of sensible measures that are a natural extension of Danish Shipping’s goal to become climate-neutral by 2050.

ABOUT THE REPORT The report is based on real data from the MRV system, which provides an overview of emissions and fuel consumption from ships in EU ports. Thus it provides a concrete picture of how a number of different ships operated by Danish Shipping’s members will be affected by the two initiatives as they are currently proposed.

FuelEU Maritime and EU ETS Sound incentives for the fuel choice?


This article is shared by courtesy of Danish Shipping – a trade and employer organisation. Half of the members of the organisation own ships registered in Denmark, the other half run their activities in Denmark under other flags of state.  Since then, it has been working as a collective point for the Danish shipping industry, and today it plays an important and active role in relation to the authorities and decision-makers nationally and internationally.

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