A computer-generated image of a cargo ship fitted with 'solar sails'
Does shipping have a green future?
27th October, 2009
The aviation industry has its climate change plans, car manufacturers are working on 'eco' alternatives, and rail is considered top of the class, but what has the transport mode that delivers 90 per cent of goods to the UK done to improve upon its environmental credentials?
As an ethically conscious consumer - whether that means the odd jar of Rainforest Alliance certified coffee or the latest bamboo bicycle - the chances are that your products arrive in your home only at the end of a very long sea journey in a rather large container ship.
These vessels predominantly run on the dregs of refined crude oil: fuel oil, the heaviest, dirtiest fuel type, containing 2000 times the amount of sulphur compounds as that found in road petrol or diesel. The sulphur emissions alone are thought to be responsible for around 60,000 deaths a year across coastal parts of Europe and Asia, and although measures have been taken to reduce sulphur emissions, without further intervention that figure could rise to around 87,000.
The carbon footprint of marine fuel fares little better: shipping’s CO2 emissions are pegged at around 1 billion tonnes per year, contributing between 2 - 5 per cent of world greenhouse gas emissions.
Although shipping is widely recognised as the most ‘carbon efficient’ mode of commercial transport - a...
To view the rest of this article - you must be a paying subscriber and Login
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.