Members of the European Parliament (EP) yesterday rejected proposals to include shipping and road transport in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in a surprise move by lawmakers, which drew criticism from green lobbyists who claimed centre right MEPs had watered down the proposals.

However, a proposal to extend its carbon market to all departing flights was passed.

Yesterday’s vote came as the maritime sector debates greenhouse gas emissions at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Shipping industry organisations such as the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have admitted they produced more stringent proposals for a global levy over fears that the EU proposal would lead to multiple regional measures.

Debate in the European Parliament saw centre-right MEPs look to water down the ETS proposals, arguing that the measures would be inflationary given the current trading conditions, including the war in Ukraine and the massive increases in fuel costs. However, social democrats and green MEPs argued the amendments had watered down the ETS too much and refused to back it.

However, following yesterday’s vote the new ETS measures could be stalled further. The EU’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food safety (ENVI) now has until 23 June to find a compromise solution to the ETS proposals.

If a compromise cannot be found the legislation could be delayed.

Jo Dardenne, aviation director at green lobby group Transport & Environment, said: “Europe’s lawmakers have sent a clear signal. The bulk of Europe’s aviation emissions will no longer be ignored, marking a major step forward in tackling heavily polluting long-haul flights. It’s now up to national governments to make this a reality.

“However, disagreements on the overall package mean ambitious measures for shipping and road transport, agreed on by Parliament, have now been delayed. Negotiators should come back to the table as soon as possible and maintain the ambitious measures already agreed for road and shipping.”

However, the International Road Transport Union (IRU), welcomed the vote’s result, arguing that the ETS was not fit-for-purpose while the industry had no alternative fuels – in the large-scale absence of charging points for electric trucks, for example – to turn to.

“The road transport sector is concerned about the real risk of an increased cost base without any return and without any realistic chance to shift to zero-emission vehicles any time soon.,” it said.

Meanwhile, proposals to ban petrol and diesel power from 2035 for all cars and light commercial vans were passed.

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