New Articles
  April 19th, 2024 | Written by

Red Sea Diversions Drive Surge in EU Maritime Carbon Emissions

[shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="13106399"]

Recent data indicates a significant uptick in carbon emissions from the European Union’s (EU) marine shipping sector, posing challenges to decarbonization efforts. Kayrros, a leading emissions tracking firm, reports a 14% year-on-year increase in regulated carbon emissions during the first two months of this year.

Under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), marine shipping emissions now fall within regulatory purview. These regulations cover half of the emissions from ships entering and departing the EU, as well as all emissions for voyages within the Union.

The surge in emissions is primarily attributed to shipping diversions resulting from Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. Since mid-October, attacks on ships have led many vessels to avoid the Red Sea route between Asia and Europe, opting instead for a longer detour around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding up to 3,000 nautical miles to their journey.

According to Kayrros, these reroutes have led to significant increases in carbon emissions. On average, container ships emit an additional 900 tons of carbon (a 30% increase) when circumventing the Red Sea, while Very Large Crude Carriers traveling from the Middle East Gulf to Northwest Europe produce an extra 1,500 tons of carbon emissions.

Even before the Houthi attacks, EU marine shipping emissions were on the rise, increasing by 5.7% in the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. However, the growth rate has surged dramatically since the attacks began, despite the implementation of EU ETS regulations.

Antoine Rostand, President and co-founder of Kayrros, highlights the challenge posed by Red Sea diversions to decarbonization efforts. He notes that without a resolution to the rerouting issue and the absence of clean or cleaner fuel options for shipping, carbon emissions are likely to remain high, posing a setback to both the maritime industry and the European Commission’s progress towards net zero emissions.