Shipper MSC joins coal plants and Ryanair in top 10 list of EU polluters

FILE PHOTO: The MSC PSA European Terminal (MPET), the largest container terminal in the Port of Antwerp is pictured during Belgium's King Philippe's visit, in Antwerp, Belgium April 27,2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) overtook Ryanair in the top 10 rankings of Europe’s biggest carbon dioxide emitters in 2019, a list that is still dominated by big coal-fired power plants, European Union data showed.

Data compiled by Brussels-based think tank Transport & Environment (T&E) showed MSC emitted an estimated 10.72 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019, ranking it seventh in the EU, rising above Ryanair at No. 8, which produced an estimated 10.53 million tonnes. MSC was not immediately available for comment.

Shipping companies are not yet included in the EU emissions trading system (ETS). But the European Commission plans to add them in 2021 in a bid to bring the industry into line with the bloc’s efforts to cut greenhouse gases.

The ETS seeks to cut CO2 by forcing power plants, factories and airlines to pay for their pollution.

Both MSC and Ryanair still emit less CO2 than the biggest coal-fired power plants in the top 10 list. Six German plants and two Polish plants make up the rest of the list, with Poland’s Belchatow power station the biggest polluter.

“Power and other sectors are cutting their emissions year in, year out in response to EU regulations, but shipping pollution is left untouched,” said T&E shipping manager Faig Abbasov.

T&E said shipping did not currently pay for its carbon pollution and, even if required to buy EU pollution permits, it said European shipping firms would still pay seven times less for emissions than trucks, which face steeper fuel taxes.

“To achieve full decarbonisation by 2050, European shipping must improve its carbon intensity by more than 40% between now and 2030,” Abbasov said.

Reporting by Marine Strauss, Kate Abnett; Editing by Edmund Blair