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MSC Again Ranks Among EU’s Biggest Carbon Emitters -NGO

Mike Schuler
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July 6, 2021

Swiss-based MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has moved up a notch Transport & Environment’s ranking of Europe’s biggest carbon emitters.

The Brussels-based non-governmental environmental group reports that MSC emitted 10.9Mt of CO2 on all voyages departing or arriving at European ports last year, ranking it as the bloc’s sixth largest climate polluter alongside coal-fired power plants. While MSC’s 2020 carbon emissions fell by about 3% compared from 2019, MSC still climbed to number six on the list from 7th place 2019 and 8th place in 2018, according to T&E.

“For the third year running, the biggest shipping emitter has climbed the top 10 of Europe’s largest polluters,” said Jacob Armstrong, shipping officer at T&E. “It’s emblematic of an industry that doesn’t pay a cent for its pollution. That a ship operator is overtaking coal plants shows that business as usual isn’t working. We need an EU carbon market that makes shipping pay for all its pollution.”

Last year, MSC defended itself against T&E’s ranking system, which is based on European Union (EU) Monitoring, Reporting and Verification data, saying it was “disappointed and highly concerned by the incorrect and misleading interpretation of data” since only 40-45% of the emissions reported through the MRV actually occurred in the geographic area of the EU.

The latest analysis from T&E showed the vast majority of emissions (65% to 79%) from the five biggest shipping companies occurred on voyages between European and non-European ports.

“Anything less than a carbon market covering extra-European voyages lets the biggest shipping companies off the hook and leaves smaller operators who sail mainly within Europe to pick up the tab,” added Armstrong. “It would also forfeit ETS revenues that could be reinvested in greening the sector.”

Later this month, the European Commission is expected to publish proposals to include European shipping in the EU carbon market (ETS) and establish the world’s first sustainable fuels mandate for ships (Fuel EU Maritime Regulation).

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