GHG Emissions Policy Gets Varied Response from Environmental and Ocean Freight Shipping

Guidelines for Change Still Controversial – Too Little or Too Much? 

Nobody could accuse the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of rushing into a decision regarding its avowed intent to cut pollution from cargo and passenger vessels. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions legislation has caused controversy since first suggested and has been something of a no win situation fparor the IMO as shipping lines, the freight community and environmentalists have all been publicising their views. On Friday April 13 we finally heard what the IMOs ‘Initial Strategy’ is to be, and the controversy, although muted, continues.

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has announced that all participating member states have now finally agreed to reduce CO2 emissions as against 2008 levels by 50% by the year 2050. This decision comes after heated lobbying from all sides and has variously been hailed as ‘landmark’, ‘realistic’ and ‘far from perfect’ depending on who you listen to.

One has to have some sympathy with the IMO on this, it was always going to be impossible to please everybody and whilst viewed as a lumbering monolith by some, others consider the organisation the only chance to make collective decisions which have a truly global influence. Whatever your view, the details of Friday’s decision make it plain there is still a long way to go.

The new agreement comments that shipping must strive to assist in reaching the aim of the Paris Climate Agreement’s temperature goal, keeping the rise in global warming well below 2° C. Critics will say that the new agreement lacks detail with no specifics regarding timeframe for the reductions and this is a table of ambition rather than a prescriptive policy. Regulations will only be drawn up after yet another two rounds of studies due for completion by 2022.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim hinted that, despite resistance from several states, progress was already being made. The move toward cleaner ships is already under way as technology progresses and some will see a degree of prevarication in the IMO’s stance, simply waiting for the industry to sort the problem itself. He commented:

“I encourage you to continue your work through the newly adopted Initial GHG Strategy which is designed as a platform for future actions. I am confident in relying on your ability to relentlessly continue your efforts and develop further actions that will soon contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships.”

Just as the use of emission scrubbers, lower sulphur fuels and electrically powered vessels help with air quality, so the steadily rising amount of goods transported has the opposite effect. Last week we heard environmental operation Transparency International roundly criticise IMO policy, saying the industry holds too much sway over the organisation. Certainly the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) which called for a 50% reduction, rather than the more swingeing cuts which some states preferred, seems to have got its way.

ICS says that the efficiency goal that has been agreed by IMO Member States for the sector as a whole, a 40% improvement by 2030, compared to 2008, and a 50-70% improvement by 2050, is extremely ambitious but probably achievable. But only if governments recognise the enormity of this challenge and facilitate the rapid development of new technologies and fuels. ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe commenting:

“This is a ground breaking agreement, a Paris Agreement for shipping, that sets a very high level of ambition for the future reduction of CO2 emissions. We are confident this will give the shipping industry the clear signal it needs to get on with the job of developing zero CO2fuels, so that the entire sector will be in a position to decarbonise completely, consistent with the 1.5 degree climate change goal.”

“The agreed IMO objective of cutting the sector’s total GHG emissions by at least 50% before 2050, as part of a continuing pathway for further reduction, is very ambitious indeed, especially when account is taken of current projections for trade growth as the world’s population and levels of prosperity continue to increase.”

The UK Chamber of Shipping lauded the agreement and set out the view of many UK shipping groups whilst emphasising the size and importance of the sector. CEO Guy Platten said:

“This agreement commits the shipping industry to reducing its carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2050. But crucially this should be seen as a stepping stone towards decarbonisation in the long term, something which must be continue to be a major focus in the years ahead. Shipping moves 90% of global trade, and people understand the link between trade and prosperity, but rightly they demand we do it in a sustainable and responsible way. Climate change is real and we have a responsibility to play our part in preventing further damage to the environment.

“The shipping industry has already made great strides. Battery-powered ferries operate in Scotland, Scandinavia and elsewhere. Huge investment has gone in to better hydrodynamics, more efficient engines and lower carbon fuels. But make no mistake, these marginal gains alone are not enough to meet the 50% target, and certainly will not be enough meet the public’s expectations of a more fully decarbonised industry.”

“In truth, there is widespread understanding that in the long-term the industry needs to be powered by carbon-free fuel, and that will almost certainly mean a mix of battery, hydrogen and other zero-carbon fuels. Whilst battery and hydrogen cell technology does exist, their current capabilities are not sufficient to become the dominant fuels of the industry at this time. So research and development is now required on a massive scale.

“Last year the UK Government put £250 million of investment into battery R&D but that was targeted almost exclusively at the automotive sector. We need to see that kind of government-industry collaboration now applied to the shipping industry. Other countries are already investing heavily in developing carbon free fuels for ships.

”The UK could, of course, leave them to it. But if the future vision for the industry includes much greater use of carbon free fuel in international shipping, having that technology developed in the UK will mean huge opportunities to create jobs and generate wealth. The UK Government should pledge therefore to make the UK a world leader in carbon free fuels through investment in research and development.”

The international view was put by the World Shipping Council (WSC) which welcomed the agreement calling it ‘an ambitious strategy’ whilst requesting the IMO now initiates a formal Research and Development Programme itself. This was initially proposed when the WSC, and other organisations, submitted a paper last year to MEPC describing the need for a substantial, focused, and sustained programme. WSC President and CEO John Butler took the long view on reducing GHG emissions from shipping, saying:

“As hard as it was to reach political agreement this week, what comes next will be harder. We have to shift from a political mindset to an engineering mindset. There are no quick fixes here, but we can solve this problem. To do that we must establish a maritime research and development effort that will deliver the tools necessary to transform the industry. That is the next step for the IMO.”

For its part BIMCO says it is very satisfied with the strategy and that change in the industry was already well under way with emissions now decoupled from the growth in the world economy. The organisation, the largest of the international shipping associations representing ship owners with 56% of the world’s fleet by tonnage on its books says it sees zero carbon emissions as a realistic goal for the second half of this century, but reiterated that investments in research and technology are required to get there. Deputy General Secretary, Lars Robert Pedersen, commented:

“In BIMCO we believe that the industry can deliver on this target, even if we don’t exactly know how, yet. The strategy shows that there is only one road ahead, and that is the road towards decarbonisation. The strategy reinforces existing IMO regulations to enhance the energy efficiency of ships and sets out the long-term goals. This will guide the development of new technology and the design of new ships. Now we have to focus on the mid-to-long term. We have to find the technology and procedures that will drive us towards zero GHG emissions.”

Even environmental pressure group Greenpeace was receptive to the proposals but said that although the deal lists possible mitigation measures, the lack of an action plan for their development and the tone of discussions at the IMO does not give the organisation much confidence that measures will be adopted soon. Greenpeace urges the industry to transform these goals into concrete, urgent steps to decarbonise in full as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest. Greenpeace International political advisor Veronica Frank, observed

“The plan is far from perfect, but the direction is now clear, a phase out of carbon emissions. This decarbonisation must start now and targets improved along the way, because without concrete, urgent measures to cut emissions from shipping now the Paris ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees will become swiftly out of reach.

“The IMO plan is a first step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to achieve climate stability. The initial deal will be revised in 2023 and reviewed again in 2028, giving opportunities to strengthen the targets.”

Source: Handy Shipping Guide

Five Facts About Sustainable Ship Recycling

Despite recycling a majority of tonnage annually, South Asian countries have been repeatedly questioned about the environmental viability of such activity. This is despite the fact that almost everything on an end-of-life and the ship itself is recycled and reused, which adds to the sustainability of our natural resources.

Below, five facts are shared which exemplify the meaningful contribution of the ship recycling industry towards the environment and the society.

1. Boost to Local Economy

The ship recycling industry in South Asia is associated with a huge downstream market for second-hand goods such as furniture, machinery, joinery, electrical equipment, household appliances, home décor, paints, hardware items, etc. This supports the concept of industrial ecology or industrial symbiosis as the outputs from ship recycling yards are utilized as inputs to small-scale industries working to refurbish items which are eventually traded in the second-hand market.

All this is in addition to the steel re-rolling mills and steel melting mills which utilize ferrous scrap from end-of-life ships to produce steel goods such as bars, ingots, pipes, plates, etc. The entire localized industry developed due to ship recycling yards is a major boost to the local economy, as it assists in flourishing of trade of second-hand goods, ferrous scrap and non-ferrous scrap. At the same time, a large number of jobs are also created.

2. Creation of Jobs

The nexus of ship recycling yards, refurbishing shops, re-rolling mills, steel mills and second-hand shops creates a localized industry which employs hundreds of thousands of people from marginalized segments of the society. These jobs include both semi-skilled and unskilled workforce working at ship recycling yards dismantling and cutting end-of-life ships and at other downstream industries discussed above. According to the World Bank estimates, “the work force in each country varies with the volume of ship breaking but may range from 8,000–22,000 workers in the ship recycling yards to 200,000 in the supply chain, shops, and re-rolling mills.”

3. Recovery of Metal Scrap

The metal scrap obtained from end-of-life ships includes both the ferrous scrap and non-ferrous scrap. The ferrous scrap is generally classified in two ways – re-rollable scrap and melting scrap. In South Asian ship recycling yards, about 60 percent of the total weight of the ship’s steel is obtained in the form of re-rollable scrap. This comprises of plates, beams, girders and angle bars.

The re-rollable scrap is sold at a premium compared to the remaining 40 percent which is comprised of the irregular pieces of steel earmarked as melting scrap. The re-rollable products are generally used in the construction industry of these countries whereas the melting scrap is used to form finished steel products in a foundry.

In South Asia, the recovery of re-rollable and melting scrap steel by the ship recycling industry and its eventual supply for the iron and steel industries is critical because more than half of Bangladesh’s steel supply is fulfilled via this route. Similarly, for Pakistan and to some extent to India as well, the importance of the ship recycling industry for supplying scrap to the iron and steel industry is immense.

For example, in 2011 about 688,000 tons and 2.7 million tons of ferrous scrap was supplied by the ship recycling industry to the steel making industry in Pakistan and India, respectively. On a global basis, since 2011, every year at least seven million tons of metal scrap is produced by the ship recycling industry. This figure touched the 11 million ton mark in the year 2012 when a record number of ships were dismantled globally.

4. Reduced Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

The positive effect of using scrap metal to produce finished products instead of using metal ore is seen in terms of reduced GHG emissions. The emissions reduction is due to the reduced energy consumption by up to 70 percent in steel making using scrap steel as compared to using iron ore. Moreover, the need for metal mining is also diminished, which adds to the reduction of the GHG emissions.

This is an important contribution of the ship recycling industry towards sustainability because the world needs to find ways to decarbonize the atmosphere in the wake of the issues such as global warming, depletion of the ozone layer and climate change.

5. Reduced Pollution

The recycling of steel scrap obtained from end-of-life ships also helps reduce air and water pollution. At the same time, it helps reduce water consumption. These reductions are due to fact that fewer resources are required to manufacture products from metal scrap as compared to metal ore. Scientifically published estimates suggest 86 percent less air pollution, 76 percent less water pollution, 40 percent reduction in water usage while making steel from scrap than from iron-ore.

The above aspects of the global ship recycling industry corroborate the fact that generally the industry is beneficial for the environment and the society. However, doubts have been raised by some on the manner in which ships are dismantled on some yards in the Indian sub-continent. The way ships are dismantled can definitely have consequences on environment and health and safety of the workers. Therefore, the need to improve the substandard facilities cannot be refuted.

At the same time, labeling yards HSE friendly or not on the basis of their geographical area cannot be justified: especially when almost half of the active yards in India have voluntarily upgraded their facilities to obtain the statements of compliance with the Hong Kong Convention from IACS member classification societies.

Dr. Kanu Priya Jain is Coordinator for Responsible Ship Recycling at GMS (Dubai).

Source: Maritime Executive

Global shipping in ‘historic’ climate deal

The global shipping industry has for the first time agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases. The move comes after talks in April at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London.

Shipping has previously been excluded from climate agreements, but under the new climate deal, emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

One minister from a Pacific island state described the agreement as “history in the making”.

Shipping generates roughly the same quantity of greenhouse gases as Germany and, if it were accounted for as a nation, would rank as the world’s 6th biggest emitter.

Like aviation, it had been excluded from climate negotiations because it is an international activity while both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement involved national pledges to reduce greenhouse gases.

The United States, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and a few other countries had not wanted to set a target for cutting shipping emissions at all.

By contrast the European Union had pushed for a cut of 70-100%.

So the deal for a 50% reduction is a compromise which some argue is unrealistic while others say does not go far enough.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, who had chaired the controversial talks, said: “This initial strategy is not a final statement but a key starting point.”

The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands had opened the conference with a plea for action. Although it has the world’s second largest register of shipping, it had warned that failure to achieve deep cuts would threaten the country’s survival, as global warming raises sea levels.

As the talks concluded, the nation’s environment minister David Paul said: “To get to this point has been hard, very hard. And it has involved compromises by all countries. Not least by vulnerable island nations like my own who wanted something, far, far more ambitious than this one.”

Mr Paul added: “This is history in the making… if a country like the Marshall Islands, a country that is very vulnerable to climate change, and particularly depends on international shipping, can endorse this deal, there is no credible excuse for anybody else to hold back.”

Laurent Parente, the ambassador of Vanuatu, also a Pacific island nation, was not satisfied but hoped the deal would lead to tougher action in future. “It is the best we could do and is therefore what this delegation will support as the initial strategy that we have no doubt will evolve to higher ambitions in the near future.”

By contrast, the head of the US delegation to the talks, Jeffrey Lantz, made clear his country’s opposition to the deal. “We do not support the establishment of an absolute reduction target at this time,” he said. “In addition, we note that achieving significant emissions reductions, in the international shipping sector, would depend on technological innovation and further improvements in energy efficiency.” Mr Lantz reiterated that the US, under President Trump, has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change. He also criticised the way the IMO had handled the talks, describing it as “unacceptable and not befitting this esteemed organisation.”

But a clear majority of the conference was in favour of action.

The UK’s shipping minister, Nusrat Ghani, described the agreement as ” a watershed moment with the industry showing it is willing to play its part in protecting the planet”.

The move will send a signal through the industry that rapid innovation is now needed. Ships may have to operate more slowly to burn less fuel. New designs for vessels will be streamlined and engines will have to be cleaner, maybe powered by hydrogen or batteries, or even by the wind.

Author: David Shukman, BBC Science Editor

Source: BBC News

European ports support community plans to reduce emissions in maritime transport

Port facilities, coastal cities and their local communities are among the groups most vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions resulting from global warming.

The International Maritime Organization, IMO, will adopt its initial strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gases during the month of April in the Committee for the Protection of the Marine Environment. For this purpose, the setting of a limit for the reduction of CO2 emissions in the short term and other measures in the medium and long term will be discussed.

Once adopted, this strategy will be combined with other national measures to test their effectiveness and alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement to combat global warming.

This is required by the European Union, which has recently agreed on its position on these negotiations and has the support of the European Sea Ports Organisation  (ESPO). In this sense, they expect their opinions to be taken into account in the negotiation as a constructive contribution.

Under the Paris Agreement, all countries and economic sectors must initiate immediate actions to maintain the temperature rise below 2 °C, although ports, coastal cities and their local communities are among the groups most vulnerable to theclimatic extreme conditions that result from global warming.

Both the measures proposed by Brussels and by the EU countries to achieve this goal require ports to reduce the carbon footprint of their terrestrial activities. In parallel, European ports aim to achieve the decarbonisation of maritime transport through a range of sustainable services.

In this line, the European Directive for the infrastructure of alternative fuels determines that the ports of the TEN-T network should by 2025 have adequate facilities for the bunkering and supply of LNG fuel by means of power supplies in their enclosures.

Source: Cadena de Suministro

Report: LNG Comparable to Other Fossil Fuels

There is no widely available fuel, including LNG, to manage climate change and local pollutants in tandem, according to a recent study by researchers at The University of Manchester.

The researchers carried out a life cycle assessment of current and future fuels used by the shipping companies to quantify their environmental impacts. The alternative fuels assessed in the study were LNG, methanol, liquid hydrogen, biodiesel, straight vegetable oil and bio-LNG. They measured the impacts of local pollutants (sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter) and greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide).

Fuels can incur the release of emissions at various stages of their life-cycle, for example during refining or transportation, or during the cultivation of the fuel if it is bio-derived. The latter may have impacts associated with cultivation, land-use change and agricultural inputs such as fertilizers. Although the upstream emissions are not attributed to the shipping sector, it is essential to ensure wider implications of fuel switches are accounted for, say the researchers. Failure to take upstream emissions into account in any sectoral assessment risks locking in carbon intensive solutions.

Dr Paul Gilbert, Senior Lecturer in Climate Change Mitigation, said: “In particular, LNG is a promising option for meeting existing regulation, but it is not a low greenhouse gas emissions fuel.

“To understand the full extent of the environmental implications it is important to consider the emissions released over the full life-cycle and not just during fuel combustion. Otherwise, there is a risk of misleading the industry and policy on the true emission penalties of any alternative fuels.”

The two conventional fossil fuels and LNG produce comparable baseline greenhouse gas emissions. When taking into account non-CO2 emissions, any reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in terms of CO2e are negligible for LNG, states the study. The main life-cycle hot-spots include liquefaction efficiency; extent of venting and flaring; and methane slip – the unintended release of methane during ship operation.

Even under idealized conditions, reductions of CO2 emissions are strictly limited. Bio-LNG produced from agricultural waste is an exception. The results show that it has the potential to cut CO2 emissions significantly. However, feedstock is limited.

The figure (sourced from the Journal of Cleaner Production) shows lifecycle emissions in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents, distinguishing between upstream and operational emissions.

The study says effort needs to be directed at overcoming barriers to exploiting the identified low carbon potential of fuels or finding alternatives. Gilbert said it is important to ensure that any short-term measure doesn’t diminish the potential roll-out of low carbon fuels, in particular when taking into account the long life times of ships and fuel supply infrastructure.

Source: Maritime Executive 

Energy efficiency in shipping – why it matters!

All industries are looking to becoming cleaner, greener and more energy efficient – and shipping is no exception. Improved energy efficiency means less fuel is used, and that means less harmful emissions.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for safe, secure and environment-friendly shipping – is leading a European Union funded project designed to help shipping move into a new era of low-carbon operation.

IMO has launched a video outlining how the Global MTCC Network (GMN) initiative is uniting technology centres – Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) – in targeted regions into a global network. Together, they are promoting technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector.

“This project is one of the building blocks that will help shipping becoming greener,” says Magda Kopczynska, Director, DG MOVE, European Commission.

Five MTCCs have been established in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. Acting as centres of excellence for their regions, the MTCCs will work with partners to develop technical cooperation, capacity building and technology transfer – sharing the results and their experiences throughout the network to ensure a common approach to a global issue.

Innovative programmes and projects are being developed and carried out by the MTCCs – all designed to promote energy-efficient technologies and operations.

Developing countries and, in particular, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, will be the main beneficiaries of this ambitious initiative.

For regions particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, it’s a chance to get involved in promoting technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector.

“When we saw this project, we saw it as an opportunity to build partnership throughout the region to mitigate, at least in the maritime sector, the impacts of climate change,” says Vivian Rambarath-Parasram, Head of MTCC-Caribbean.

Estimates say ships’ energy consumption and CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 75% by applying operational measures and implementing existing technologies. The GMN is on the cutting edge of climate-change mitigation – and, at the same time, opening up a world of opportunities for those who participate in it.

“We’re looking forward to building capacity for not just Kenya but for the African region in general – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to improve air quality in our port cities,” says Nancy W. Karigithu, Principal Secretary Maritime and Shipping Affairs, Kenya.

By promoting technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector and helping navigate shipping into a low-carbon future, the GMN project is steering a course for a cleaner, greener future.

The GMN project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

MTCCs:

  • MTCC-Africa, hosted by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Mombasa, Kenya
  • MTCC-Asia, hosted by Shanghai Maritime University, China
  • MTCC-Caribbean, hosted by University of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago
  • MTCC-Latin America, hosted by International Maritime University of Panama, Panama
  • MTCC-Pacific, hosted by Pacific Community, Suva, Fiji

Source: Hellenic Shipping News