Pollution from Europe’s biggest shipping company has increased

Pollution from one of Europe’s biggest shipping companies increased during the pandemic, according to official EU emissions data. 

The data, which was analysed by the campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) revealed that the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) rose to 6th place in the ranking of EU carbon emitters. 

The data also revealed that the vast majority of the five biggest shipping companies’ pollution was on voyages between European and non-European ports. 

Jacob Armstrong, shipping officer at T&E said: ‘For the third year running, the biggest shipping emitter has climbed the top 10 of Europe’s largest polluters.

‘It’s emblematic of an industry that doesn’t pay a cent for its pollution. That a ship operator is overtaking coal plants shows that business as usual isn’t working. We need an EU carbon market that makes shipping pay for all its pollution.’

aerial view of boat on water

Later this month the European Commission will announce whether companies should have to start buying pollution permits and using green fuels for these extra-European routes, which account for most of European shipping’s climate impact. 

The commission is expected to publish proposals to include European shipping in the EU carbon market (ETS) and establish the world’s first sustainable fuels mandate for ships (Fuel EU Maritime Regulation).

Jacob Armstrong added: ‘Anything less than a carbon market covering extra-European voyages lets the biggest shipping companies off the hook and leaves smaller operators who sail mainly within Europe to pick up the tab. It would also forfeit ETS revenues that could be reinvested in greening the sector.’

In related news, in the April magazine, Air Quality News investigated the true cost of buying online. 

When it comes to air pollution, the shipping of products poses a serious problem, Aoife O’Leary, director of international climate at the Environmental Defence Fund explained: ‘Shipping is extremely cost-effective, but one of the reasons it is so cheap is because of the fuels used. When you extract oil from the ground you refine it, the top–grade stuff goes to aeroplanes, the middle stuff goes to cars, and then whatever’s left at the bottom of the barrel is either used to tarmac roads or power ships.

Photo by Cameron Venti




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