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Quantifying Emissions in the European Maritime Sector


A new report from the Joint research Centre (JRC) presents the first independent assessment of data on GHG emissions arising from the maritime sectors up to 2019 and a detailed review of the available literature on the LCA of the maritime sector up to mid-2020, the first meta-study of this type dedicated to the maritime sector.

Shipping is a large and growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as of local pollutants such as SO2, NOx, and particulate matter. Scientific-based evidences indicate the need for global action and policies to tackle these emissions. The EU is following an environmental strategy to reduce emissions from the shipping sector. Actions on energy efficiency, emission abatement systems and more efficient ship hulls are important in mitigating shipping emissions increase, but further actions are needed when pursuing a long-term downward trend. The most important additional decarbonisation action is the use of alternative clean fuels. When understanding the potential environmental impacts of maritime systems fuel emissions, a full life cycle perspective should be followed in order to avoid potential pitfalls. In this respect, this report performs two analysis:

1) An analysis of the GHG emitted by ships transiting in EU ports in 2019, based on the publicly available MRV-THETIS database;
2) A meta-study of the life cycle assessments (LCA) on maritime systems and alternative fuels for maritime propulsion available in the literature.

The trends and gaps discussed throughout this report can serve the EU decarbonisation goals by providing recommendations for future actions aimed at quantifying and reducing maritime emissions.

The full report can be downloaded for free from the JRC Publications Repository