Animation comprised of a NO2 map placed on top of a shipping route map to show the routes clearly correspond to the pattern of detected NO2 (source : ESA)
From Lloyd's List
HELLENIC Chamber of Shipping president George Gratsos has urged regulators to pause to consider research that warns that reduction of sulphur content in bunkers may exacerbate global warming.
“Presently enacted regulations represent inadvertent geo-engineering increasing our planet’s temperature,” said Mr Gratsos.
“Governments should carefully study the repercussions of their regulations before they inflict irreversible damage to society with inappropriate legislation,” he said in a keynote speech to the Mare Forum Blue Shipping Summit in Athens.
“Our society has developed substantial analytical capabilities to help guide us.”
Mr Gratsos in particular cited a new study by researchers from the UK Met Office that examined aerosols and climate variability in the North Atlantic (see Nature).
Published last month, the paper “clearly indicates that the reduction in sulphur aerosols over the Atlantic Ocean have increased water temperature, increasing the severity of hurricane activity and Sahel and Amazon droughts”, according to Mr Gratsos.
The effects had “variously influenced the whole planet”, he said.
Ship tracks off British Columbia (source : NASA)
Reducing the sulphur content of bunker fuels outside SECAs would worsen the problem, Mr Gratsos warned.
Shipping has been pointing out side effects of lower sulphur policy to regulators for some time, Mr Gratsos acknowledged, but “to no avail”.
A familiar industry argument is that higher cost of 0.1% distillate, the limit for ECAs, compared to heavy fuel oil may cause a modal shift from ships to trucks that will see CO2 emissions from transport multiply.
Mr Gratsos also said that the IMO had enacted the regulation reducing sulphur content despite research into the cooling effects of ship emissions of sulphur dioxide.
However, he told Lloyd’s List, the recent Met Office research “is a game changer, or at least it should be”.
The Met Office describes itself as “a world leader in providing weather and climate services”.
Mr Gratsos also warned of the effects of shipping emission policy on the world economy.
Market-based mechanisms, which in effect would add the price of carbon to fuel prices, could significantly increase the cost of freight, slowing or even reversing globalisation, he said.
Since the average loaded trading speed of bulk carriers in 2012 appeared to be 20% lower than five years ago, this had reduced ship emissions by 50%, Mr Gratsos said.