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Shipping Major Emissions Problem

energyfutures2.jpgA new study by Energy Futures finds that U.S. ports are a major source of pollution and GHG emissions in their cities and that progress on the problem has been slow. The ten-month study analyzed the cities of America’s top ten container ports. Container shipments have risen 80 percent in the last decade to more than 10,000 visits annually to American ports.

Based on the study’s findings, Energy Futures has outlined the need for policies that include promoting the use of alternative fuels, developing a port clean-up strategy at the federal level and creating national funding to clean up ports.

Last fall, the chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping said the UN must enforce global regulations if the industry is to cut emissions. And last year, The Port of Vancouver implemented a new program that charges lower tolls for more eco-friendly ships.

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2 thoughts on “Shipping Major Emissions Problem

  1. There is growing belief that shipping is an area that should be targeted heavily because of it’s woefully outdated technology and practices coupled with the fact that the black soot produced by ships is increasingly being recognized as yet another potent greenhouse forcing agent due to it’s albedo flipping properties.

    Most ships have almost no emissions controls and burn the absolute cheapest, dirtiest diesel fuel. The following proposals could have significant short term GW abatement potential…

    – Programs to mandate and/or subsidies installing emission control systems on ships to reduce black soot.

    – International agreements to switch to much cleaner version of diesel.

    – Using portside electricity rather than diesel engines for power when at dock.

    – Possibly most important… slowing the ships down. This would save a lot of fuel, and the lost transit time could likely be made up by logistics changes that would reduce the waiting time offshore at the port of arrival.

  2. Fortunately significant advances in clean diesel technology make it possible to reduce emissions as has been suggested.

    In addition to focusing on ship emissions, it is now also possible to significantly reduce emissions from the trains and thousands of trucks which service these ports.

    New trucks built after 2007 are 60 times cleaner than those built in 1988, virtually eliminating particulate matter emissions (soot). For those older trucks with many good years of life ahead, emissions control devices can be added to reduce emissions between 25 – 90%. While it may take some time to reduce some of the actual ship emissions due to international complications, these other emissions can be reduced today.

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