The shipping container company produced 11m tonnes of CO2 in 2018. © MSC Rights
The shipping container company produced 11m tonnes of CO2 in 2018. © MSC Rights

Shipping firm joins top 10 EU emitters

10 December 2019

The Mediterranean Shipping Company has joined a list of the EU’s top 10 emissions producers.  

The firm has made eighth place for producing 11m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2018, according to emissions data from NGO Transport and Environment (T&E).

Faig Abbasov, shipping manager at T&E, said: “A company that consumers have never heard of has joined the top 10 polluters list in Europe. This industry doesn’t pay a cent for its carbon emissions and the EU has so far done nothing to curb its damage.”

Ryanair, which produced 9.9m tonnes, has also joined the list at number 10. The rest of the chart is made up of coal plants.

T&E said last year shipping to and from Europe created over 139m tonnes of CO2, yet it is the only sector that currently has no measures to reduce emissions. 

In October, a report by T&E calculated that shipping companies were allowed €24bn worth of fossil fuel subsidies a year due to exemptions from fuel taxes under the EU Energy Tax Directive.

T&E said the best way to remove subsidies was by including shipping in the emissions trading system, which the new European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has committed to do.

However, T&E said additional measures needed to be enforced, including CO2 emission standards “to accelerate the uptake of zero-carbon fuels and technologies”.

A lack of “mandatory CO2 reductions” in the shipping sector and the “dysfunctionality” of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) were highlighted as key barriers to the EU meeting commitments under the Paris Agreement.

From the start of January 2020, the shipping sector will need to comply with an 80% reduction in sulphur emissions by changing to lower sulphur fuels. The maximum sulphur content in fuel oil will switch from 3.5 weight percent (w%) to 0.5w%, under IMO rules. 

Meanwhile, research by Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has revealed that “abrupt and disruptive” climate change policies in industry could reduce the valuation of a range of companies on the Morgan Stanley Capital International All Country World Index.

Companies could reduce in value by between 3.1%-4.5% – or $1.6tn-$2.3tn, according to the analysis. 

Policies are forecast to impact both the worst and best-performing companies in the index in sectors including energy, automobiles, utilities, minerals, and agriculture.

According to the findings, the world’s largest listed coal companies could halve in value, and the 10 largest companies in oil and gas will lose a third of their value, equal to $0.5tn.

However, sectors transitioning to sustainable alternatives, such as electricity utilities, are predicted to double in value (104%), while power firms lacking a renewable strategy could fall by 66%.

Separately, British energy firm Drax aims to become the first power company to be carbon negative by removing more CO2 than it produces by 2030. It will achieve this by using sustainably sourced biomass fuel and new technologies such as carbon capture and storage. 

However, Drax CEO Will Gardiner said this was dependent on the government developing “an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework for new technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage”.

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