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air pollution

Ports and Shipping need to curb air pollution

RealWire, an online media presence, has this week issued a press release related to using proven existing technology to curb UK Shipping and Port Industry air pollution.

According to RealWire, providing renewable electricity to ships whilst in port in the UK could reduce the equivalent of 1.2 million diesel cars worth of nitrogen oxides pollution and bring £402 million per year of health and environmental benefits.

By plugging into the power grid with 100 per cent renewable electricity and turning off their diesel engines, ships at berth in the UK would reduce emissions equivalent to 84,000 to 166,000 diesel buses – or 1.2 million diesel cars representative of the current UK fleet.

The pressure is mounting for the UK to align with EU air pollution emission targets, and ships at berth need to cut their fuel consumption and port authorities and terminal operators need to integrate shore power capabilities in a simpler and more efficient way.

Schneider Electric supports decarbonisation through its business efforts, this has led to a sponsored study into the emissions from idling ships at berth in UK ports that affects the quality of the air we breathe. Often neglected as source of air pollution, ships spewing toxic emissions near to coastal towns and cities puts people and the environment at risk.

While road transport pollution garners public prominence because it is so visible in our everyday lives, we should not underestimate the impact that portside emissions have on the environment and the cost of keeping society healthy. Offshore supply vessels, fishing boats, roll-on-roll-off, bulk carriers and passenger ferries contribute the most to the emissions from auxiliary engines at berth. The emissions from all vessels’ auxiliary engines at berth in UK ports in 2016 is estimated to be equivalent to nearly 2.6 per cent of the total transport sector emissions of nitrogen oxides in the UK. The best estimates of these emissions from auxiliary engines are 830,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 11,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 270 tonnes in particulate matter and 520 tonnes of sulphur dioxide.

There were approximately 110,000 buses and coaches in the UK fleet in 2016 and the study has found that ships’ auxiliary engines at berth are equivalent to the nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions equivalent to 84,000 to 166,000 buses and coaches representative of those currently in the UK fleet, respectively.

Dirty air has been linked to asthma symptoms, heart disease and even lung cancer. It has been linked to dementia and is also known to increase the risk of children growing up with smaller lungs. Meanwhile, 59 per cent of the UK pollution – 40 million people – live in areas where diesel pollution threatens their health, according to Friends of the Earth. Global deaths linked to ambient air pollution are estimated to have increased by just under 20 per cent since 1990, while 95 per cent of the world’s population is now breathing toxic air, according to a recent study by the 

Health Effects Institute while the Royal College of Physicians has found that air pollution in the UK contributes to 40,000 deaths per year. The UK could bypass a major health hazard as well as avoid health and environmental impacts of up to £402 million per year through the elimination of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulates – using the introduction of shore connections at UK ports. If all the emissions from the auxiliary engines at berth from these vessels were reduced to zero by replacement with power from 100 per cent renewable electricity sources, the value in reducing emissions would be between £136 million and £483 million per year.

“The UK is one of the last global regions to introduce shore connections at its ports and it will take industry collaboration and innovation to bring forward the introduction of portside electricity in a quick and sustainable manner. There is now a global standard for shore connections and it is up to our ports now to catch up with the global norm and demonstrate that we truly believe in a cleaner, healthier future,” says Peter Selway, Marine Segment Marketing Manager at Schneider Electric.

While health conscious countries like the UK are employing proactive policies to help curb the dangerous impacts of air pollution and the ongoing efforts to alleviate roadside toxic fumes is indeed noble, the long-term impact of the shipping industry should not be ignored.

Globally, the partnership between the Port of Seattle and the shipping industry has seen annual CO2 emissions being cut by up to 29 per cent annually in the port, with financial savings of up to 26 per cent per port call. Meanwhile, shore connection capabilities have been mandatory for all ships at berth in California since 2010 and by 2020, at least 80 per cent of berths have to be equipped with shore connection technology.

The shipping industry itself has been receptive to plugging in at port and Schneider Electric’s technology has assisted La Meridionale to achieve a 95 per cent reduction in its berthside emissions. Danish ferry group Scandlines, meanwhile, has seen an overall energy saving of between 10-14 per cent in its equipped vessels.

“It is time now to adopt a new way of thinking and embrace, as an industry, the benefits that shore connections and portside electricity can bring quickly and cost-effectively. We are fortunate enough to have the technology at hand and we must put it to good use,” Selway concludes.

emissions

Shipping emissions to be halved by 2050

Following on from our earlier article concerning shipping emissions, over 170 countries reached agreement on Friday (13 April) to reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by “at least” 50% on 2008 levels by 2050, ending years of slow progress.

Despite opposition from nations including Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the US, the states came to a final agreement on Friday, signalling to industry that a switch away from fossil fuels is fast approaching.

Ultimately the goal is for shipping’s greenhouse gas emission to be reduced to zero by the middle of the century, with most newly built ships running without fossil fuels by the 2030s.

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), said the adoption of the initial strategy “would allow future IMO work on climate change to be rooted in a solid basis”.

The compromise plan to halve shipping emissions by 2050 leaves the door open to deeper cuts in the future, placing a strong emphasis on scaling up action to 100% by mid-century.

“Meeting this target means that in the 2030s most newly built ocean-going vessels will run on zero carbon renewable fuels. Ships, which transport over 80% of global trade, will become free from fossil fuels by then,” the European Climate Foundation said in a statement.

European Union countries, along with the Marshall Islands, the world’s second-biggest ship registry, had supported a goal of cutting emissions by 70 to 100% by 2050, compared with 2008 levels.

But opposition from some countries – including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Panama – limited what could be achieved at the IMO session last week in London.

In Brussels, the European Commission hailed the deal as “a significant step forward” in the global effort to tackle climate change.

“The shipping sector must contribute its fair share to the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc and her colleague in charge of Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete.

While the EU had sought a higher level of ambition, the Commission said the deal was “a good starting point that will allow for further review and improvements over time”.

Shipping currently represents 2-3% of global CO2 emissions and could reach 10% by 2050 if no action is taken, the Commission reminded.

Dr Tristan Smith, an energy and shipping reader at the UCL Energy Institute, said that the 2050 target is likely to be tightened even further in the future.

“Even with the lowest level of ambition, the shipping industry will require rapid technological changes to produce zero-emission ships, moving from fossil fuels, to a combination of electricity (batteries), renewable fuels derived from hydrogen, and potentially bioenergy,” he said.

While he admitted that such changes are “massive” for a global industry with over 50,000 ships trading internationally, Smith said these reductions can be achieved “with the correct level of investment and better regulation”.

“What happens next is crucial,” said John Maggs, president of the Clean Shipping Coalition and senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk, an umbrella organisation of environmental NGOs.

“The IMO must move swiftly to introduce measures that will cut emissions deeply and quickly in the short-term. Without these the goals of the Paris agreement will remain out of reach,” he warned.

According to the text produced by the IMO working group submitted to member states, the initial strategy would not be legally binding for member states.

A final IMO plan is not expected until 2023.

Source: Edie.net / Independent 

emissions

Can shipping slash emissions?

Next week, countries are supposed to finalise a deal on limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) environment meeting in London is expected to set a concrete target for shipping emissions in the coming decades. After the Paris Agreement and a deal on emissions from International Aviation, shipping is the last sector to contribute to global climate action.

A climate shipping deal has been long in the making. The IMO first adopted a resolution on GHG emissions in 1997.  However talks have stalled. There are several issues to overcome. There is concern that the impacts of any deal will fall disproportionately on flag states with many ships registered. Just six flag states – Panama, China, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Singapore and Malta – account for over half of global shipping CO2 emissions.

However, there is concern that there is not yet enough data on ship emissions to consider setting a global target, or that shipping does not have the technical means to decarbonise.

the IMO adopted two technical measures on energy efficiency in 2011 and will require ships to report on their fuel consumption from 2019, no overall cap or reduction on shipping emissions has been set.

EU member states, including the UK, have supported a “70-100%” reduction on 2008 emissions by 2050, and a 90% reductions in the carbon intensity of shipping.

Japan has proposed that emissions be cut to 50% below 2008 levels by 2060, along with a 40% improvement in ships’ fuel efficiency by 2030. Japan also includes the idea of “amendments” to the goal, pending an IMO review of its achievability at a later date.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and other trade groups have proposed simply capping shipping emissions at 2008 levels, along with a 50% efficiency improvement by 2050. A group of low-ambition countries, including Argentina, Brazil, China and Turkey, argue against any absolute emissions cap, saying it could result in carbon leakage to other transport modes such as rail and air.

The shipping industry emitted 932 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015, according to a recent report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). This corresponded to around 2.6% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, up from around 2.2% in 2012.

The IMO’s most recent study on international shipping emissions estimated they could grow between 50% and 250% by 2050, under current measures. As other sectors are set to decarbonise, this means shipping could grow to represent an ever larger portion of global emissions if not cap is set.

According to Green Peace, Ships carry over 80% of world trade, using vessels that operate on marine fuels which are cheaper but dirtier than road transport diesel fuels.

If the shipping sector were a country, it would rank sixth in the list of carbon emitters, just above Germany. The sector’s emissions have been growing three times faster than global emissions and if left unchecked emissions could grow by 50-250% by 2050.

Source: Carbon Brief / Green Peace