First Ever Shipping Emission Regulations a Step in Right Direction, But...


Photo: Flickr, CC
...not Going Far Enough & Too Many Loopholes
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO, which is a part of the United Nations) has finally gotten its act together and agreed on regulations for for cargo ships (not only a huge source of air pollutants, but also a significant source of greenhouse gas). The new rules will force all ships over 400 tonnes that are built after 2013 to improve their efficiency by 10%, then 20% between 2020-2024, and 30% after 2024. That's a good start, but there are big problems with it...

Photo: Flickr, CC

First issue is, the rule will only apply to ships registered in developing countries startin in 2019. This could push the operators of older ships that don't meet the requirements to simply move the registration of those ships to these countries and avoid cutting emissions for many years.

Secondly, these regulations will not apply to existing ships, only new ones. This could become an incentive to keep older ships around longer to avoid having to comply with the new standards.

Thirdly, the cuts aren't that big, especially considering they're implemented over so many years. Too many cargo ships burn some of the dirtiest fuel around in engine that are old and inefficient. More needs to be done to turn this ship around and point it in the right direction.

Still, the regulation is expected to lead to greenhouse gas emission reductions of 20-50m tonnes a year by 2020 (depending on who you ask) and fuel savings of around 5 billion dollars. Not bad, but it could have been much better.


Photo: Wikipedia, CC

Via IMO, Guardian
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