Greenhouse gas emissions

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Transport by sea emits approx. 1,000 million tonnes CO2 annually, and it accounts for approx. 2.2 per cent of annual emissions worldwide. Therefore, Denmark cooperates with other EU, IMO and UNFCCC countries to regulate ships' CO2 emissions.

Depending on developments in world trade, the future transport need as well as the future regulations of ships' CO2 emissions, emissions from international shipping can be expected to increase drastically. The issue of future regulation of ships' CO2 emissions is an important item on the international shipping policy agenda.


The EU has adopted the so-called MRV regulation with the purpose of monitoring ships' CO2 emissions. The regulation stipulates provisions on the monitoring, reporting and verification of information on, inter alia, CO2 emissions from ships operating in and arriving at or departing from a port in an EU member State.

The MRV regulation becomes effective in January 2018. According to the regulation, a document of compliance must be issued by an accredited organisation and subsequently be controlled. This document must be kept on board the ship as its proof that the ship meets its obligations.

As regards enforcement, the regulation refers to the EU port State control directive so that it is possible to enforce the regulation in connection with port State control inspections.


In 2011, the IMO adopted globally binding regulations on an Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) that establishes standards for the energy efficiency of new ships as well as a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) that is a tool for both new and existing ships for improving their energy efficiency.

The regulations entered into force in 2013. In connection with these regulations, a number of resolutions and circulars have been adopted implementing the regulations. In 2015, the provisions on new ships' energy efficiency will have been fully phased in. This means that new ships must be 30 per cent more energy efficient than ships built before 2013.

At present, a mandatory global data collection system for structured monitoring and reporting of ships' fuel consumption is being negotiated in the IMO (MEPC), a so-called Data Collection System. The system is to take stock of ships' fuel consumption, and it is expected to be incorporated into MARPOL Annex VI. Negotiations are ongoing in the IMO where MEPC 69 approved a draft data collection system in April 2016, which is expected to be adopted by MEPC 70 to be held in October 2016.

The IMO (MEPC) has adopted a roadmap for international shipping's contribution to the global efforts made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The roadmap means that the IMO must develop a strategy for reducing ships' greenhouse gas emissions, including the development of new global short-term and long-term measures. At first, the strategy is to be ready in 2018 with a view to contributing to the first status debate on compliance with the long-term climate goals of the Paris agreement. Subsequently, the strategy is to be updated and finally adopted in 2023. With the adoption of the roadmap, it has furthermore been decided to give higher priority to the IMO climate work in coming years, inter alia through the holding of a number of inter-sessional meetings between the MEPC sessions.


International shipping was debated as part of the negotiations under United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on a global climate agreement at COP21 in Paris in 2015 (Paris Agreement).

Despite Denmark's and the EU's active efforts to ensure that the global climate agreement addressed emissions from international shipping and aviation, the attempt to have international transport explicitly mentioned in the agreement was unsuccessful.

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Maritime Regulation and Legal Affairs
Palle Kristensen, Senior Adviser, Technical Regulation
+45 72 19 63 72