European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas met with Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard to discuss mechanisms intended to reduce greenhouse emissions from the shipping industry.
"For a global sector such as maritime transport, measures which are the most environmentally effective and make economic sense can best be achieved through the International Maritime Organization," Kallas said in a statement.
Hedegaard agreed, saying it was "high time" for the IMO to broker an agreement. "Much as we prefer a global solution, the member states and the European Parliament have asked the commission to present a possible proposal to reduce shipping emissions for 2012 in the case that the IMO fails to find a solution," she said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a related measure this week launched an initiative aimed at reducing pollution from the long-haul trucks that service U.S. ports.
European leaders are expected to call for the adoption of an energy efficient index developed by the IMO at its next environmental protection conference in July.
European member states agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors by 20 percent by 2020.