Europe Invites a Trade Battle in its Fight Against Shipping Pollution



Costas Paris | The Wall Street Journal

The European Union’s drive to use financial pressure to cut greenhouse-gas emissions risks inflaming tensions over international trade.

The European Parliament voted this month to require that oceangoing ships pay for the pollution they cause when they carry cargo to and from Europe by bringing shipping under the EU Emissions Trading System.

The plan still has a long way to go before it potentially takes hold, but it’s drawing sharp criticism from the shipping industry and raises the prospect of a broader conflict on trade. Any charges will add to the cost of moving goods through European seaports, making the carbon fee an effective tariff.

Shipping companies aren’t included in the EU Emissions Trading system, which obliges factories, power plants and airlines to pay for what they emit on flights within Europe by buying carbon permits. The vote this month was to align the maritime industry over the next couple of years with Europe’s overall strategy to cut greenhouse gases.

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