EU Shipping Sector Faces Surge in Carbon Emissions from Ship Diversions

Houthi stand on beach after ship attack
New data shows a 14% increase in EU shipping sector carbon emissions, monitored by Kayrros. Ship diversions due to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea are the main cause, leading to additional CO2 emissions. This poses a challenge to decarbonization efforts and hinders progress towards net zero emissions.
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The European Union (EU) shipping sector has seen a significant increase in carbon emissions, with a 14% rise in regulated emissions in the first two months of this year, according to Kayrros, a global leader in emissions tracking. Emissions from shipping are now under official supervision as part of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), with rules applying to half of emissions from ships entering and leaving the EU, as well as all emissions from voyages within the Union. The increase in emissions has been attributed to ship diversions caused by Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, leading to ships taking longer routes.

The diversions due to the attacks have resulted in a substantial increase in CO2 emissions, with an average container ship emitting an additional 900 tons of carbon (+30%) when sailing around the Red Sea, and very large crude oil carriers producing an additional 1,500 tons of CO2 emissions. Despite an existing increase in EU shipping emissions before the attacks, the growth rate has surged further since mid-October, posing a challenge to decarbonization efforts in the sector. Antoine Rostand, president and co-founder of Kayrros, expressed concern that without clean fuel options, the high emissions levels due to continued diversions could hinder progress towards net zero emissions.

The situation highlights the impact of external factors on emissions levels in the shipping sector, as well as the challenges faced in meeting decarbonization goals. The increase in emissions due to ship diversions around the Red Sea illustrates the need for clean fuel alternatives to reduce the environmental impact of the sector. The findings also underscore the importance of addressing geopolitical tensions and disruptions that can contribute to a rise in carbon emissions, emphasizing the need for sustainable solutions in the maritime industry.

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