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to sustain price rises from ferry and short sea operators, so trucks will travel longer distances over land to reach the shortest sea crossings, with a clear environmental impact. This could lead to a significant decline in short sea shipping in northern and eastern UK ports. With shipping by far the most low-carbon means of transport per tonne of freight, any modal shift from sea to land will drive up carbon emissions and affect the UK’s ability to meet its carbon targets. It could see the net environmental benefit of the measure lost.

In addition, the energy needed to refine

the low-sulphur fuel to meet the 2015 SECA requirements could potentially add about 12 million tonnes of carbon emissions within Europe alone.

and health reasons and the provisions of the IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI are a welcome means of addressing this. Nevertheless, compliance with these

regulations will create considerable financial, logistical, societal and even environmental impacts and will impose considerable costs. The regulations pertaining to low-sulphur fuel in SOx Emission Control Areas (ECAs) that come into force in 2015 in the Channel, Baltic and North Sea will be particularly challenging. The designation of ECAs was supposedly based upon clear scientific evidence, but no study was ever done, either by the IMO or the EU Commission, into the broader consequences of these regulations.

Modal shift

A number of impact assessments have, however, been made by various EU member states and by the Universities of Antwerp/Leuven. These broadly agree that the application of 0.1 per cent low-sulphur fuel in 2015 may result in up to a 50 per cent modal shift from sea to land, owing to the significant increase in fuel price (up to 85 per cent higher than it currently stands). The road haulage sector – already

struggling on tight margins – will be unable

There is a clear and

unequivocal need to reduce emissions of SOx from shipping for both environmental and health reasons

Future policy There are other areas where environmental policy decisions are not as clear cut as they may at first appear. For instance, while offshore wind farms are an important part of the UK’s green energy strategy, regulatory bodies and planners are currently failing to take fully into account the needs of shipping. Some developments will require significant detours – resulting in increased carbon emissions. As the urgency to achieve ambitious

carbon reduction targets increases, it’s essential that carbon targets should not be put at risk by ill-conceived environmental regulation elsewhere. It is vital that the very positive steps that shipowners are already taking to reduce GHG emissions are not undermined. This is a complex challenge, but policy makers and environmental experts must consider an holistic approach – where regulation is required – to ensure that the environmental outcomes are the most effective at reducing harmful emissions at a macro level. This approach is crucial in the face of the unprecedented threat of global climate change.

Shipping’s carbon emissions – design and implementation of market-based measures Part 1: a cap-and-trade emissions trading system and Part 2: an international GHG contribution fund


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