Analytical Framework to Regulate Air Pollutant Emissions from Maritime Transport

This new report from the Joint Research Centre of the European Union provides an analysis of the pollutants emitted by maritime transport and analyses policy options for regulating those emissions and mitigating their impact on the environment.

Abstract:
Maritime transport activity is becoming one of the most important topics on sustainability debate. Indeed, a part from industrial activity and energy production, maritime transport is the largest contributors to air pollution and the increasing rate of trade make the problem even more worrying. Scope of this report is to sketch the state of the art on data, methodologies, air emissions estimations, technological and policy options to design a sectorial environmental policy strategy to regulate air emissions from ships. The report gives an overview of the main methods to estimate the air emissions deriving from shipping activities and compares their results to define a reference framework. Particularly attention is done to cost effectiveness analysis of technological and policy options to abate GHG emissions from international maritime transport taking into account the legal regulatory system of this sector, and the main legal and economics constraints to implement a sectorial policy to abate CO2 emissions.

Summary:
Increasing awareness of the maritime transport environmental impacts recognises that both legislative actions, regulating the levels of air pollutant or implementing market based mechanisms, and technological improvements are urgently needed.

The final aim of the report is to design a methodological framework to appraise the policy strategy to regulate air emissions (from the ships air pollutants and greenhouse gases) giving some insights on how to design and to apply policy instruments that should be informed by efficiency and equity principles.

The report can be divided in two parts. The first part (1 to 9) outlines the state of the art on methodological frameworks to appraise policy strategies to regulate air emissions from ships (air pollutants and greenhouse gases as well).

The first chapters (1 to 4) of the report analyse the main maritime transportation activities and the related environmental impacts. A detailed description of the impacts on air quality is carried out in Chapter 4 to allow the definition of the main fields of policy intervention to abate air emissions from ships. Chapter 5 provides an overview of the main methods to estimate the emissions deriving from shipping activities and compares their results in order to define a reference framework. In fact, the evaluation of the total amount of emissions deriving from shipping activities (and the scale of these emissions) plays a central role to appraise possible strategies for the reduction of the maritime transportation sector. The analysis highlights some limits of the current methodologies. The scientific debate is still open on which would be the most proper way to reduce these limitations. Indeed, the scarce or limited availability of data concerning maritime transportation activities makes complex the achievement of this objective. The identifications of these limits and constraints are the first steps to allow the improvement of these estimations.

A legislative intervention to control air emissions from international maritime transport requires a clear picture of the international regulatory system and the legal and political framework that regulate this sector. Chapter 6 provides an overview of the complex maritime regulatory system and how environmental issues are integrated in this framework. This is followed by the analysis of criteria to compare and select policy options for an environmental sectorial strategy (chapter 7).

Chapter 8 identifies some methodological constraints to estimating external costs due to air emissions from ships to allow their internalization. Then, a detailed analysis of the technological options to abate air emissions from ships providing some indications of their potential and their costs to abate the emissions is undertaken (chapter 9).

The second part of the report (10 to 12) summarises the international debate on the regulation of Greenhouse Gas emissions from international maritime transport. Chapter 10 briefly describes the international framework to regulate air emissions from international maritime transport giving a complete picture of international Institutions, different positions and decisions regarding these aspects.

Chapter 11, starting with an analysis of the EU emission trading scheme, identifies and analyses the main challenges in designing policies to regulate CO2 emissions from international maritime transport. The analysis highlights the complexity of the international regulatory system of the maritime transport and several legal and economic constraints for regional (namely, European) and international policies to regulate CO2 emissions from international maritime transport. In particular, the European Emission Trading scheme applied to the maritime sector and a global scheme are  analysed (chapter 12).

The last chapter (13) suggests some directions for future research to cover the lack on data and methods to estimate air emissions (air pollutants and green house gases) and to develop additional policy options.

Read the full report here in PDF, 134 pages.

Citation: EUR 24297 EN – Joint Research Centre – Institute for Environment and Sustainability; Title: Analytical framework to regulate air emissions from maritime transport; Author(s): Miola, A., Ciuffo, B., Marra, M., Giovine, E.; Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities; EUR – Scientific and Technical Research series – ISSN 1018‐5593, ISBN 978‐92‐79‐15308‐2, DOI 10.2788/78254

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