Green Mobility Policy Briefing – May 27, 2022

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Briefing: the UK’s Maritime Minister announces package to kick-start £206 million UK SHORE programme; EMSA employ sniffer drones to monitor ship emissions in the Channel; Labor’s Anthony Albanese is sworn in as prime minister of Australia promising climate action; and the EU’s hydrogen plan criticised by environmental NGOs.

UK confirms £12 million for zero emissions shipping technologies. In a written statement to parliament, Maritime Minister Robert Courts announced the launch of a package of initiatives to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping. The package will kick-start the wider £206 million UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (SHORE) programme, which announced earlier this year, aims to advance the UK’s efforts towards a sustainable shipping future. Included in the package is a continuation of the multi-year Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), through which funding is available to support research and development in zero-emission maritime technologies. The scheme targets the development of zero-emission ferries, as the government addresses the one million tonnes of CO2 emissions that passenger ferries contribute to the UK’s domestic shipping emissions annually. To further the fulfilment of the Clydebank Declaration agreed at COP26, this CMDC round will include feasibility studies on ‘green shipping corridors’ to and from the UK, placing the UK at the centre of emerging clean maritime routes. The competition proved a success in its initial round of funding. MJR Controls, who last year won funding to develop wind turbine charge points for electrical vessels, are now primed to install the technology at the Lynn and Inner Dowsing offshore wind farms. The developing emissions-reducing technologies are crucial for shipping, whereby, due to the average lifespan of vessels, greener ships must start being deployed by 2025 to achieve a zero-emission fleet by 2050.   – By Sam Phelps

EMSA turns to sniffer drones to monitor ship emissions in the Channel. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the French Directorate General of Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture are using drones to monitor sulphur and nitrogen emissions from ships operating in the Emission Control Area (ECA) of the North Sea and English Channel. The drones, Schiebel Camcopter S100s, are equipped with emissions sensors that analyse gases when the drone is flown through a ship’s exhaust plume. The readings are then analysed to ascertain compliance with applicable regulations, and non-compliance can trigger an inspection of the ship at the next port of call. The EMSA’s Channel inspections follow the Agency’s three-month long operation in the Baltic Sea alongside the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency announced last month. Under the Baltic Sea Emission Control Area (SECA), a ship’s fuel must not exceed a sulphur level of 0.10%. In 2020, global sulphur limits were drastically reduced from 3.5% (mass by mass) to 0.50% under the IMO 2020 project and put into force with an amendment to Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). According to a European Environment Agency publication from 2015, changes in fuel use and the introduction of emissions abatement technologies have resulted in a 74% reduction in sulphur oxides (SOX) emissions across 33 EAA Member States between 1990 and 2011. By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre.  

The Albanese government sworn into power with a strong mandate for climate action. On Monday, Labor’s Anthony Albanese was sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister, marking the end, after almost a decade, for the centre-right coalition, who in that time earned Australia a reputation as a climate “laggard”. The outcome of the election marks a change of political opinion in Australia, with last year’s surge in domestic demand for plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) highlighting the premium the electorate place on Labor’s ambitious climate policy. Central to Albanese’s campaign was the Powering Australia plan, which targets a 43% cut in emissions by 2030, up from the 28% cut previously declared in Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. The party’s main approach to achieving this is through the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which includes A$251 million (£142 million) in EV discounts and the removal of inefficient taxes on low emission vehicles. Albanese has also pledged additional funding for highway charging stations and outlined plans to exempt EVs from a 5% import tariff, in moves that Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, insists may “push adoption closer to global standards”. Whilst spelling an end to the “climate wars” that plagued Australia under Morrison’s leadership, Albanese’s clean mobility policy still has far to go. Despite an upturn in interest, the market share of EVs remains far behind that of lead adopter nations. Whilst the lack of emissions standards in the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, threaten restricting the extent to which EVs can penetrate the Australian car market. – By Sam Phelps

Anthony Albanese’s promise of climate action is both welcome and necessary. Since 2000, Australian per capita greenhouse gas emissions have consistently exceeded those of other developed nations.

EU hydrogen plan criticised by environmental NGOs. Brussels based NGO Transport & Environment has labelled the European Commission’s proposed delegated acts as ‘dangerous’, claiming that that the acts risks ‘undoing positive, ambitious steps to promote a fuel that will be vital for decarbonising shipping and aviation’. Under the proposed regulations (Article 4), fuel producers may count electricity taken from the grid as fully renewable if they enter into power purchase agreements with renewable electricity operators in one or more installations generating renewable electricity for an amount that is at least equivalent to the amount of electricity that is claimed as fully renewable, subject to conditions. However, under Article 8, Article 4, and its subsequent conditions, will “not apply to installations producing renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuel of non-biological origin that come into operation before 1. January 2027.” Geert Decock, electricity and energy manager at T&E, said “we need more hydrogen for sectors like shipping and aviation, but by loosening green standards and pushing for a target that is too high, the EU’s plan is dangerous. The EU should choose a realistic, data-backed target as well as remove the clause in the law that exempts additional renewables generation until 2027. Otherwise we risk a green fuels policy that does more harm than good.”- By Thomas Hayden-Lefebvre