Efforts to reduce the environmental impact of shipping should begin with mandatory speed restrictions for all commercial ships. That is the message from more than 100 maritime companies and nine NGOs, which have written to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) calling for it to regulate speed speeds.
T&E has joined forces with environmental NGOs in Spain to warn that a high-profile exercise in cleaning up shipping risks locking in fossil fuels for decades to come. The port of Barcelona has committed to investing in infrastructure to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to ships, and last month it celebrated the arrival of its first gas-powered cruise ship as a breakthrough for sustainable tourism. However, a T&E member described it as ‘greenwashing’.
The European Commission has published proposals to revise its reporting rules on ships’ emissions data which are aimed at enabling those who charter ships to pick the cleanest and most efficient vessels. T&E has welcomed the proposals, but says the Commission is wrong to concede on the need to report cargo data.
Decarbonising Europe’s ships will be much easier by making them battery-powered or based on hydrogen than by using synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, a T&E study has found. The report on reducing shipping’s climate impact says powering ships with batteries, hydrogen or ammonia will need only half the renewable electricity compared with using synthetic methane or synthetic diesel. In a separate development, the European Commission has published the EU’s decarbonisation strategy, which acknowledges the potential of electrification for short-sea journeys.
Powering Europe’s transport with fossil gas – widely known as ‘natural’ gas – would emit as much greenhouse gases as using petrol, diesel or conventional marine fuels, a new T&E report has found. Fossil gas cars also emit as much air pollution as petrol ones and their limited advantage over new diesels that comply with the latest emissions standards could be eliminated by the planned introduction of new Euro VII/7 standards, the research shows. Yet, by taxing gas for transport at a rates much lower than petrol and diesel, European lawmakers are incentivising the use of this fossil fuel.
The international shipping community has made little progress to advance the global commitment made earlier this year to reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is despite impassioned pleas for action by climate scientists to the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) environment committee last month. Delegates spent two weeks discussing procedural matters and timelines rather than concrete measures to decarbonise the sector. T&E said that some IMO delegates soon ‘would not have a country to land on’ due to global warming if this pace of activity continues.
A dispute involving Europe’s ship owners and the European Commission is threatening to weaken the effectiveness of a new EU law aimed at cleaning up the recycling of old ships. T&E together with NGO Shipbreaking Platform has called for the Commission to insist that only scrapping yards that meet minimum standards on environmental and working conditions should be on the EU’s list of approved scrapping facilities.
A company that runs cruises through Arctic waters is coming under increased pressure to stop using a cheap-but-dirty fuel that is destroying the environment its passengers pay to see. Carnival Corporation’s customers and the general public are being asked to sign a petition at cleanupcarnival.com, setup by an international coalition of environmental groups.