Green Mobility Policy Briefing 29th of July 2022

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Briefing: Maersk quits International Chamber of Shipping citing environmental concerns; EU agrees to reduce gas consumption by 15%; UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand create National Aviation Authorities network.

Maersk departure from International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) calls into question decarbonisation role of trade groups. Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk has unexpectedly withdrawn from the board of the ICS, a major trade association for shipping companies with a consultative role in the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The company had been represented on the ICS board for 10 years prior to the decision. On its website, the company said, “we review our membership status once a year to ensure that the trade associations lobby in alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as other key issues”, going on to explain that their “choice to step down from the ICS board should be seen in this context. The Danish shipping major’s departure from the trade group over environmental concerns brings to question the role played by lobbies in advocating for, and aiding in, the shipping sector’s plans for decarbonisation. Some maintain that such groups play a vital role in representing the interests of ship owners, operators, and builders vis-à-vis the UN’s International Maritime Organization. However, others claim that discrepancies between trade group members on decarbonisation have led to diminished decarbonisation goals and a slower pace of action. – By Ollie Jenkins.

EU member states agree to reduce natural gas consumption by 15%. On the 26th of July, EU member states committed to reduce their natural gas consumption within the single market following Russia’s threats and disruptions to natural gas supplies. Whilst abiding by the regulation is voluntary, it leaves the door open to the possibility of triggering a ‘Union alert’ that would make the reduction target legally binding should the security of the gas supply be deemed in critical danger. It is estimated that businesses and industry will be the worst hit in the event of severe gas shortages, as member states affirmed that households and essential services will be the most protected from the reduction measures. The commitment to reduce natural gas consumption may have severe ramifications for the EU’s transport sector as natural gas powered vehicles and vessels. have seen significant rise in popularity over the past decade. With 1.4 million compressed natural gas (CNG) cars and 129 liquified natural gas (LNG) vessels currently operating in the EU, these new measures therefore put into question the operational stability of these vehicles, as well as the long-term social, economic, and security desirability of natural gas-powered transportation. By Agne Vaitkeviciute

UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand create National Aviation Authorities network. The world’s five most prosperous and developed anglophone countries have established a network of national aviation authorise (NAA) which, according to a press release, aims to “support resilience of the aviation sector, ensuring cohesive aviation policies going forward, collaborating on how new aviation technology is integrated and regulated and supporting efforts to reduce carbon emissions”. Whilst details on the network remain relatively sparse, the NAA network is set to complement existing coordination groups and mechanisms under the International Civil Aviation Organization and will allow NAA network member states to “to respond quickly and flexibly to new issues and influence new regulation, finding ways to align approaches to address common challenges”. The NAA network’s creation follows the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system in 2021; a consequential move which has been highly criticised by pilots and industry. Speaking about the NAA network, Sir Stephen Hillier, chair of both the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the National Aviation Authority Network Governance group said: “this is both an exciting and a challenging time for the global aviation sector, and regulators must move quickly to build greater resilience, keep pace with rapid innovation, and work together to reduce carbon emissions.”. – By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre