Over the past two decades, global aviation greenhouse gas emissions have more than tripled, while shipping emissions have also increased.
While international aviation and shipping each accounted for less than 3.5 percent of EU‘s total greenhouse gas emissions, they were the fastest growing emissions sources that contribute to climate change.
This is mainly due to record traffic growth driven by increasing passenger numbers and trade volume. These sectors also only recently became part of efforts to cut greenhouse emissions, both at EU and global level.
In a resolution adopted ahead of the COP25 climate summit, the European Parliament called for more ambition in cutting emissions from aviation and shipping, for instance by strengthening market-based measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the past two decades, the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions have increased emissions from international aviation and shipping by nearly 130 percent and 32 percent respectively. This was the fastest growth in the transport sector as a whole-the only sector in which since 1990 emissions have increased.
This was the fastest growth in the transport sector as a whole-the only sector in which emissions have risen since 1990.
Air and sea traffic on the rise
Greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and shipping have been largely driven by traffic growth. The number of air passengers in the EU has tripled since 1993 and the volume of international maritime trade has also increased significantly over the last two decades.
Growing environmental concerns could prompt more people to pay attention to the carbon footprint of their mode of transport. So far just over one in ten say they do so, according to a Eurobarometer survey. Find out how much CO2 your flight emits.
Info-graphic on the evolution of the number of air passengers in the EU
What has been done to address aviation and shipping emissions?
Through its emissions trading scheme, the EU has taken steps to reduce aviation emissions. Therefore, in this process, Parliament needs to include the maritime sector. Today, according to EU and international rules, large ship owners are obliged to provide their ships with data on CO2 emissions as well as fuel consumption.
The EU is also working with the International Civil Aviation Organization to implement a global market-based measure called Corsia that would allow airlines to offset their emissions by investing in green projects, such as planting trees.