World’s largest cruise operator closes in on 2020 emissions target

Shipping emissions are not covered by the Paris Agreement. [Port of San Diego/Flickr]

The world’s largest leisure travel company, the Carnival Corporation, looks set to achieve a 25% reduction in carbon emissions before a 2020 deadline, after championing liquefied natural gas (LNG) on cruise ships. EURACTIV’s partner edie.net reports.

Carnival Corporation established ten goals to reduce its environmental impact in 2015, setting a five-year timeframe to reach each target. The company’s latest sustainability report revealed that a 24.8% reduction in carbon emissions had been achieved against a 2005 baseline, just short of the 25% target for 2020.

“We take our commitment to sustainability and the environment very seriously and take proactive measures to ensure that sustainability is ingrained in the core of our business practices,” said Carnival Corporation’s chief maritime officer Bill Burke.

“Our top priority is to consistently exceed our guests’ expectations for a great cruise vacation – and that includes providing an exceptionally safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment for our guests and crew members, while at the same time maintaining our deep commitment to protecting the oceans, seas and destinations we visit.”

Daily emissions of cruise ships same as one million cars

Cruise ships can emit as much particulate matter as a million cars every day and the air quality on deck can be as bad as the world’s most polluted cities, according to a new investigation.

The maritime transport industry looks set to cancel around half of the carbon savings made by land-based transport in Europe alone, due to expected growth in the sector by 2030. With Carnival Corporation’s cruise lines sailing to more than 760 ports across the world, the company is championing alternative fuels to reduce emissions and air pollution.

Almost 60% of the company’s fleet is fitted with Exhaust Gas Systems, which improve air emissions by reducing sulphur compounds and particulate matter from engine exhausts. The company also equipped 40% of its fleet with cold ironing capabilities, which allow ships to use alternative power sources while in port.

Carnival Corporation is pioneering the use of LNG to lower emissions. The firm’s AIDAprima is the first cruise ship in the world with a dual-fuel engine that can be powered by LNG when in port. Carnival Corporation has issued seven new builds for LNG-fuel ships for future use.

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Cruise control

Despite being omitted from the Paris climate accord, the shipping industry has since introduced its own global initiative to combat climate change. Last year, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) approved a roadmap through to 2023 on the global adoption of an emissions reduction strategy, scheduled to come into force in 2018.

The roadmap uses incremental steps to encourage the sector and nations to improve the state of sustainability amongst ships. A cap on sulphur emissions looks set to come into force in 2020, after 170 countries agreed on a new global deal.

UN will force shipping to clean up its act

The UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is pondering measures to cut shipping pollution and bring emissions into line with the Paris Agreement. EURACTIV’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

The latest sustainability report outlined continued progress towards improving water efficiency of shipboard operations by 5% by 2020, and reducing waste – measured by kg of non-recycled waste per person per day – on shipboard operations by 5%. Carnival Corporation claimed to be on track for the waste target, but is lagging in improving water efficiency.

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A boom in shipping is aggravating air pollution in China and other nations in east Asia, causing thousands of deaths a year in a region with eight of the world’s ten biggest container ports, scientists have said.