European Parliament: ‘Shipping must be emission free by 2050 ‘

All European shipping should no longer emit greenhouse gases by 2050. The European Parliament has drawn up a proposal for the European Commission on the rules that shipping should comply with in the future.

It is

estimated that international shipping emits around 2.5 percent of all global greenhouse gases. Shipping, like aviation, is not mentioned in the Paris Climate Agreement. The European Parliament believes that this needs to be changed, and the Commission feels that way.


For example, shipping companies will have to pay for the greenhouse gases they emit by 2022. The sector should also look more closely at the dismantling of old ships in the future. They are now often resold to poorer countries. The tankers often lie in a ship‘s cemetery for years, where they are manually dismantled.

But the main objective is the transition to sustainable fuel. At present, most ships operate on fuel oil, which is very polluting. The ambition is that ships will be powered with hydrogen in the future, but that is not yet possible. Parliament therefore wants EU funds to be made available for the development of hydrogen engines for shipping.

Green fuel

Although most MEPs agree with the ambitions, there is disagreement about the way towards them. The shipping industry sees the fossil fuel LNG as an ideal alternative to fuel oil. This is also known as liquefied natural gas and emits 23% less carbon dioxide than fuel oil, and also less from a number of other greenhouse gases.

Vera Tax, MEP for the PvdA, also believes that LNG can be used during the transition period. But she prefers to see a lot of investment in green fuel. โ€œA ship will last about 40 years. That is why we want to invest as little as possible in this. The World Bank also said: don’t invest in LNG.โ€

Continue to invest in LNG

But according to VVD‘er Caroline Nagtegaal, LNG is essential in the transition period and she wants to invest in it for the time being. โ€œIt is true that it still emits methane. But in the development of the latest engines, you can already see that 50 percent less will be emitted and that can be reduced to 0 percent by 2030,โ€ she says.

Most MEPs share that view and, according to the proposal, investment in LNG can continue. The Port of Rotterdam is pleased with this. The port also emphasises that the fuel emissions much less than the current fuel oil. โ€œThe use of LNG by ships means of a drastic reduction in air pollution at sea and in port. In addition, LNG offers the possibility to use the infrastructure for bio-LNG and synthetic LNG,โ€ says the Port of Rotterdam.

The European Parliament’s proposal now goes to the Commission. In June, the Commission will present a series of laws to ensure that all sustainability goals are met. It will also be known what rules are in place for the maritime sector.