Levy could help cut NOx emissions by 70%, study claims

Introducing a levy on nitrogen oxides (NOx) that would fund abatement measures could cut NOx emissions from vessels by up to 70%, a new study has found.

Environmental consultancy IVL and CE Delft used the study to demonstrate the policy options the European Union (EU) could use to regulate NOx emissions from ships in EU member states’ national waters, and compared them with the measures lined up by the IMO.

Abatement options and their associated costs for shipping’s NOx emissions were compared with EU-level measures implemented either on their own or in addition to in the IMO’s designated nitrogen emissions control areas (NECAs).

The EU could alternatively enforce mandatory slow-steaming of ships (with a levy and fund as an alternative compliance option) or a stand-alone levy on the volume of NOx emitted, the study found.

“Ship NOx emissions affect all EU member states, whether along the Baltic, around the North Sea or the Mediterranean. This study provides a solution for all EU seas,” said Faig Abbasov, clean shipping officer at lobby group Transport & Environment (T&E), which commissioned the research.

NOx emissions from global shipping make up about 30% of all man-made NOx emissions, T&E said. The gas contributes to particle and ozone formation and also causes acidification and eutrophication when deposited on land, lakes and seas.

“Ambitious EU action has helped slash air pollution on land with emissions from sulphur dioxide falling by 80% since 1990. The EU must now take similar steps to cut emissions from ships, which have toxic fumes that cause 50,000 premature deaths in Europe each year,” said Louise Duprez, senior policy officer with the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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