2021 was a marathon year for climate policy in Europe. Nearly halfway into the five-year period, the European Commission has made good on their promise: making climate the bellwether for all other policy development, establishing the Green Deal framework, adjusting reduction targets for 2030, and presenting a massive regulatory package – Fit for 55 – specifying what is needed and who must contribute to achieve the goals.

It will be no easy task. “It’s going to be bloody hard”, said EU’s climate boss Frans Timmermans when he presented the package in July of 2021.

It’s going to be bloody hard

Frans Timmermans, Vice President in the European Commision

Shipping is in the spotlight, and among the sectors most highly impacted by the new measures. Shipping will now be included in the quota regime Emissions Trading System (ETS). The proportion of alternative fuels will be increased. There will be demands for shore power and possible changes in energy taxation. The EU’s taxonomy also lays down guidelines for which investments in shipping can be regarded as green.

For European shipowners, the most important input is that measures must work in concert and contribute to concrete investments in scaling up green technologies. This will also be the central message in 2022, as the European Parliament and member states continue to work on the content of the Fit for 55 package.

When shipping is fully phased into the ETS in 2026, the industry will contribute significant funds that should be earmarked for restructuring in the maritime sector. The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association has calculated that the contribution from the Norwegian fleet could amount to 200 million Euros annually from 2026. In January 2022, the Speaker of the European Parliament supported such an approach, proposing that 75 percent of the contribution from shipping go toward an «Ocean Fund».