EU Maritime Transport Policies

   Environmental Sustainability


Environmental Sustainable Development

Sustainability is about integration or how to develop in a way that benefits a wide range of industries, sectors, countries and generations. It is about making decisions that take into consideration potential impact on society, the environment and the economy.


Sustainable development is set-out in the Treaty as the long-term goal of the EU. The Commission has produced a Sustainable Development Strategy which is revised every two years and its objectives have been deemed in a broader range of policy developments.


The environmental sustainability focuses on the following policy areas:


1) Climate change and Clean energy – the EU committed itself to reducing its overall emissions by 20% until 2020. It also set the target of increasing the use of renewables in energy production by 20% until 2020. The Energy Efficiency Package reinforces the key energy efficiency legislation on buildings and energy-using products. The European Regional Development Fund supports sustainable energy in the housing sector, providing a further boost to investment.


Also the White Paper on Adapting to Climate Change sets a framework to reduce the EU’s vulnerability to the impact of climate change, focusing on integrating adaptation into EU key policy areas and measures, building a knowledge base and stepping up international cooperation.


2) Sustainable transport – key EU policy developments include the Green Transport Package, which addresses the greening of transport, internalisation of external costs and the abatement of noise from railways. As part of the Climate and Energy Package, the EU is committed to sourcing 10% of its transport fuel consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020. This target is accompanied by binding sustainability criteria for biofuels included in the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive.


Furthermore, an Action Plan for the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems has been launched and followed-up by new actions. Aviation will be included in the EU Emission Trading Scheme from 2012 onwards. In maritime transport, action includes adoption of the Maritime Safety Package and the Maritime Transport Strategy until 2018.


3) Conservation and Management of natural resources – the focus is on preserving the biodiversity and areas of natural land. The annual loss of ecosystem services is estimated equivalent to €50 billion, while by 2050 the cumulated welfare losses were estimated equivalent to 7% of GDP.


Key action on water management includes continued implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Community Policy on water scarcity. The objective of the directive is to achieve good environmental status of all waters by 2015. The Integrated Maritime Policy was launched in 2007 and set out a common framework for all maritime issues, and introduced cross-cutting tools to ensure that use of marine environment (oceans, seas and coastlines) is sustainable. Sea basin strategies for the Arctic Ocean, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean will address the specific challenges of these bodies of water.


An eco-efficient economy will contribute to achieving the main objectives and the overall aim of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy. It represents new business opportunities and with the proper measures will boost the EU competitiveness. This will stimulate important employment growth, and will therefore be an essential element of the EU 2020 strategy.


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   Glossary Terms


In general terms, is the ability to maintain balance of a certain process or state in any system. In economics terms, sustainability interfaces with economic processes via social and ecological consequences of any activity. The challenge is to curb and manage economic development without increasing resource use and environmental impact.
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  Additional Information for Environmental Sustainability
   Subject News
  22/06/2016 - What next if a 2020 sulphur cap is announced?
18/06/2016 - A levy on emissions can reduce ship NOx emissions by 70% – study
17/06/2016 - EIB to Inject USD 1.1 Bn into Cutting Shipping Emissions
26/05/2016 - Shipping industry mulls billions in extra costs as sulfur cap looms
19/05/2016 - Experts Say Shipping Emissions Must Peak Soon to Achieve Paris Goals
10/05/2016 - Shipping sector emissions: alternative fuels for marine and inland waterways transport
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   Linked Topics
  Emission trading schemes
Methods for calculating externalities

Sustainable Transport
Key Performance Indicators
   Related Documents
  New rules, new politics, same actors - explaining policy change in the EU ETS.pdf
EU Action against Climate Change - Leading global action to 2020 and beyond.pdf
2009 Review of the EU Strategy for Sustainable Development.pdf
Presidency Report on the Review of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy.pdf
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   Lessons Learned
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   Information Sources
  World Ports Climate Initiative Onshore Power Supplies
DG Energy
DG Climate Action
OECD Sustainable Development
UK Govt Sustainable Development
EUROSTAT Sustainable Development Indicators
European Commission - Environment
DG Environment
European Sustainable Development Strategy
UN Commission for Sustainable Development
OECD Environment Directorate
Developing a sustainable transport system
European Environment Agency
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   Related Projects
   Related Policies
  Social Sustainability
Economic Sustainability
Europe 2020 Economic strategy
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