by Julia Wild
Decarbonizing The Shipping Industry While Keeping A Level Playing Field
File: FuelEU Maritime
Rapporteur: Warborn Jörgen (EPP)
Rapporteur for opinion: Wölken Tiemo (S&D) Andresen Rasmus (Greens/EFA)
According to Warborn Jörgen, shipping is the transport mode with the lowest climate footprint per tonne transported. However, alternative fuels are currently far more expensive than fossil fuels. Innovation, production and employment of green alternatives shall be boosted. He fears that added costs will ultimately hit consumers. Hence, measures have to be applied in a balanced way. Europe should be ambitious but not overambitious. He fears losing competitiveness and families’ purchasing power. Europe cannot act alone; it must put pressure on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to create global standards.
MEPs also raised the issue of balancing climate goals with competitiveness, since the EU regulations do not or only to a certain extent apply for third-party countries. There are disputes on which fuel is considered green. Additionally, MEPs from Nordic countries pledge ships navigating in ice use more fuel; hence, they should get more support when financing fuel alternatives.
Exchange Of Views With The Council Presidency France And The French Minister For Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari
The minister emphasizes that they urgently need to make sure to meet the 2030 targets of a 55% reduction of emissions compared to 1990. Sustainable fuels need to be fostered without sapping the competitiveness of the EU. They want to: align an international ETS system to the EU ETS; focus on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T); introduce more night trains and better working conditions, especially in aviation. Decarbonize, regulate and innovate are the three guidelines of the French Council presidency.
MEPs criticize that they did not hear from the French presidency at all so far. It was also stressed that decarbonization must go hand in hand with social aspects. For example, the social climate fund must reach the right people and transport operators involved in trafficking must be stopped. Also, public transport must be extended and a European-wide plan to do so laid out.
ETS – Competitiveness vs. Climate Goals
Rapporteur: Liese Peter (EPP) from Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee
Rapporteur of opinion: Andrey Novakov (PPE)
Shadow rapporteur: K Van Brempt (S&D)
Andrey Novakov wants to avoid transport poverty stemming from fuel prices, which are too high. He wants to balance nature and humanity. Therefore, he votes for road transport to be excluded from the ETS revision and that only 50% of intra-EU shipping must be covered by stricter decarbonization rules – the same amount as proposed for extra EU voyages. K. Van Brempt underlined that the planet will survive: the question is whether humans will survive too. Therefore, every sector must reduce emissions – including road transport, which is the only sector still increasing its emissions. The Social Climate Fund must have more means to balance the transition and the Modernization Fund should be used too. Several MEPs are concerned that the EU will lose competitiveness with the ETS revision.
ESR & SCF – Working On A Fair Transition
Rapporteur: Polfjärd Jessica (EPP) from Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee
Rapporteur for the opinion: Angel Dzhambazki (ECR)
On the effort sharing regulation (ESR), Dzhambazki points out that Member States will need flexibility within the ESR in achieving the 2030 goals. MEP Cerdas Sara (S&D) emphasizes that binding national goals should be included and Pär Holmgren (the Greens/EFA) stresses that road transport must also be under the ESR. MEP Elena Kountoura (GUE/NGL) is against nuclear power. She says there must be flexibility but we cannot undermine the general goal. On the Social Climate Fund (SCF), Leila Chaibi (GUE/NGL) focuses on public transport to serve rural areas and to promote bicycling. Ondrej Kovarik (Renew Europe) points out that there must be coherence and coordination between ETS and the social climate fund. Tilly Mets (the Greens/EFA) highlights that the fund should give priority to public transport (which is affordable and accessible) and invest in shared mobility.
Aviation ETS – Tackling Climate Change Via Aviation
Rapporteur Glavak Suncana (EPP)
Rapporteur for the opinion: Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Renew)
According to Jan-Christoph Oetjen, uptake of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is the only way to decarbonize the aviation sector and should be incentivised by free allowances. He flags that actions need to be adopted faster. Innovation is the key pillar in ensuring decarbonization in aviation. Roberts Zile, rapporteur CORSIA notification, ECR, stresses the interconnection between ETS and CORSIA and the need to work closely together. Read more on the connection here. Henna Virkkunen, shadow rapporteur aviation ETS, EPP, is worried about aviation moving to extra EU hubs and is worried that phasing out free allowances as such does not cut emissions; it only increases costs. Peter Vitanov, shadow rapporteur aviation ETS, S&D, emphasizes that non-CO2 emissions should at least partly be covered in this revision.
Mr. Oetjen wrapped up by summarizing that for some MEPs the revision is not ambitious enough; for some it is the opposite.
EED – Leading An Efficient Way
Rapporteur: Fuglsang Niels (S&D) Industry, Research and Energy Committee
Rapporteur for the opinion: Tom Berendsen (PPE)
Tom Berendsen points out many energy-saving opportunities in transport via using all technologies but keeping in mind that electricity in transport is often produced with fossil fuels. Rovana Plumb (S&D) stresses the issue of transport poverty. Rainer Haider (Identity and Democracy Group) thinks that only third countries will win under the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) because they do not have to comply with the emission reduction rules, hence gaining a cost advantage. Mr. Berendsen emphasizes that the EU industry must and can make sure it benefits from the transition.
References: Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), European Commission, URL: https://transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-themes/infrastructure-and-investment/trans-european-transport-network-ten-t_en (last accessed 14.02.2022)