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Carbon Dioxide From Ships at Sea To Be Regulated For First Time (theguardian.com) 136

Carbon dioxide from ships at sea will be regulated for the first time following a historic agreement reached after two weeks of detailed talks in London. From a report: Shipping companies will halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 under the plan, brokered by the International Maritime Organization and binding across its 170 member states. The agreement will require a revolution among ships, which are overwhelmingly fuelled by heavy oils at present. In future, they will have to not only be more energy-efficient, but also make use of cleaner energy, in the form of batteries supplying electricity, solar and wind electricity generation, and perhaps even a return to sail in some cases, or more controversially to nuclear power, as some warships already use.

Environmental campaigners said the plan was not enough given the urgency of tackling climate change, though they welcomed the deal, which has taken decades of work. Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and aviation were omitted from the 1997 Kyoto protocol and have been excluded from regulations on carbon ever since, even though shipping is used for 80% of global trade. Although shipping accounts for only about 2% of global carbon emissions, it has been a cause of particular concern, both because of the increased need for transport under the globalising economy and because many ships use dirty, carbon-rich fuels such as heavy diesel, which would be banned in many countries from onshore transport.

Carbon Dioxide From Ships at Sea To Be Regulated For First Time

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  • We wont even be able to have a steerage class deck I bet...
    • The only place coal should ever be used anymore is in the Christmas stockings of chronically misbehaving little children.
      • How are you suggesting to create new steel then?

        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @01:54PM (#56446995) Journal

          How are you suggesting to create new steel then?

          Coking coal doesn't need to be mined from underground. Charcoal from wood or biomass can also be used to create new steel.

          Also, it's possible to use electrolysis instead of coal to make steel, but the technology to do that on a large scale is still a few years away.

          • Using charcoal would deforest the planet. Besides, it is way dirtier than using coal to create coke.

            • Using charcoal would deforest the planet. Besides, it is way dirtier than using coal to create coke.

              Only if you do it the same way it was done 2,000 years ago.

              There are environmentally-friendly ways of making charcoal.

              https://wiki.duke.edu/display/... [duke.edu]

  • Just hold onto all your carbon. Then when you dock at the US, just release it all into the atmosphere.

    Sure you poison major commerce areas, but Americans won't believe the science (so people dying will just be an act of God), and welcome these ships as an economic boom.

    Win win.

  • by Zorpheus ( 857617 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @12:20PM (#56446395)
    All the dirtiest oil from the refineries is burned in ships because their SO2 emissions are not regulated. A large ship emits as much SO2 as millions of cars. Yet they regulate CO2 for ships?
    CO2 for planes would have been interesting.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2018 @12:24PM (#56446419)

      CO2 for planes would have been interesting.

      The California legislature already has plans to pass laws requiring all aircraft operating in California airspace to employ sails for propulsion, thereby using 100% renewable energy sources and eliminating their CO2 emissions.

    • by dyslexicbunny ( 940925 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @12:42PM (#56446517)

      That's actually in the works. The Committee for Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is working on defining a standard. I'd heard the new standard wouldn't impact anything coming out over the next few years.

      However the reality is that manufacturers continue to push for reduced fuel consumption as fuel is one of the most significant operating costs of an airline. No one is lining up to buy gas guzzling aircraft.

    • SO2 has been considered as an agent for combating global warming in at least one geo-engineering scheme. https://www.wired.com/2008/06/... [wired.com]
      • Yes, but I think this is a pretty bad idea, because the SO2 will be gone much faster than the CO2. Blowing it into the air now will just delay the warming, and result in a large catastrophic change when SO2 production stops.
    • SOx emissions have dropped markedly as the industry has had several rounds of "new low-sulphuric fuel required by 20xx". CO2 emissions are the lowest of all transportation methods by ton-mile.
      • They have dropped on land, partly due to filtering. But also because all the sulfur-rich fuel is burned on ships now.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Haven't read the detailed text of the agreement, but it seems like even if they concentrate on CO2 it will just force the ships to clean up their sulfur emissions too anyway.

    • A large ship emits as much SO2 as millions of cars. Yet they regulate CO2 for ships?

      Firstly, SO2 is largely a local pollutant and not a global one like CO2.
      Secondly, SO2 most definitely is regulated. It was many years ago when we stopped burning high SO2 bunker fuel in population centres for this very reason. The amount of SO2 emitted by ships has been actively driven down since the 1960s where it seems we can't go half a decade without a new standard putting more downward pressure in SOx and NOx emissions.

      CO2 however is a tough one to crack since it has far less to do with the composition

    • by ArgonautThief ( 2611499 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @03:57PM (#56447837)

      Disclaimer: I work in the shipping industry (on the bulk cargo ship owning and operating side) so I'm obviously biased but I couldn't keep reading this post and comments that contain so much false info and general horse-shit without weighing in with a few points.

      1) SOX is regulated in the industry. Vessels are limited to burning heavy fuel oil with a max sulphur content of 3.5% at sea and distillate fuels (LSMGO) with a max content of 0.1% in any Emissions Control Area (ECA). Presently there are ECAs around Europe, North America and, some parts of China. They also exist around any island territory of the US. By 2020 the sulphur content at sea will be limited to 0.5% and 0.01% in any ECA.

      2) Some AC close to 1st post stated that shipping by sea is the least efficient most expensive method of transporting anything. Really? Shipping is the most efficient method of moving X product by Y tonne of GHG emitted per mile / nautical mile / kilometre. A quick Google search can provide you with dozens of formulas to support this. However for your ease of reference, a modern bulk carrier can move 30,000MT of product from Rotterdam to New York in 10 days and will consume roughly 139MT of HFO and 134MT of LSMGO to do so. I'd like to see someone do that with a plane / train / truck and calculate how much fuel they would burn to do so.

      3) For many, many reasons, most of them admittedly self serving, any modern 1st class shipping company is already light years ahead of any government regulations in regards to reducing their carbon footprint, exposure to environmental damage etc.

      Whilst the article points to regulations coming into effect, it hardly covers all the steps the industry has taken until now and general public knowledge on this industry is really lacking.

  • Isn't shipping already the most efficient means of transport as far as fuel burned per ton transported a given distance? Go after airlines first. Much less efficient and difficult to power with alternate fuels.
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Efficiency doesn't necessarily correlate with lower emissions.
      • If I double my efficiency, that means I use half as much fuel for the same amount of work. Even though I am burning half as much fuel you are saying that my emissions may still go up?

        .............. :/

        You failed basic math didn't you?
        • If I double my efficiency, that means I use half as much fuel for the same amount of work.

          Right, which you subsequently make up for with twice as much work.

          You failed basic math didn't you?

          At the same time you were failing basic economics, apparently.

          • But he wasn't talking about increased demand he was talking about efficiency and emissions.

            Guess you failed at basic reading comprehension.
            • Nobody's talking about demand. Demand hasn't directly driven supply for almost a century now; if it did, automakers would switch to a 10 year cycle, rather than building millions of brand new cars every year that don't get sold.

    • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Monday April 16, 2018 @12:34PM (#56446475) Journal

      The biggest container ships only need about 1 HP per container when they're underway. They beat rail by a considerable margin.

      -jcr

    • Unless you want to go back to relatively slow prop-driven aircraft, that would have to land frequently to recharge or exchange battery packs, there's going to be a long, perhaps impossible development cycle for the equivalent of a jet engine that's electric (assuming that's what the intended solution is). Given how an internal-combustion jet engine works, I don't know if it's even possible to design one (or re-design jet fuel) to reduce emissions. It's not like you can slap a catalytic converter onto a jet
      • I don't understand why we do not build giant undersea pneumatic tubes. :)
      • Prop-driven aircraft aren't necessarily slow -- read about ducted fans.

        In most "jet" aircraft today, the turbine doesn't provide much thrust itself, but drives a ducted turbofan. This ducted turbofan could be driven with a hydrogen-burning turbine, a methane-burning turbine, or even electrically.

        Better yet, replace flights under 500-600 miles with higher-speed trains. Easy enough to power from an overhead wire with current technology, and at 150mph you're talking comparable travel times when you include b

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Better yet, replace flights under 500-600 miles with higher-speed trains. Easy enough to power from an overhead wire with current technology, and at 150mph you're talking comparable travel times when you include boarding, takeoff, landing, etc.

          First you need to make it cost effective. Second you need cheap energy, which would likely mean nuclear. That's something environmentalists argue against. Third, you need to get around the various environmental regulations. Fourth, you now need to deal with the nimbysim. Fifth, you now need to go back to government to get approval for steps 3 through 4, and update step 4 to bring it into line with step 5.

          Once you're done all of that, we'll see you in about 60 years and a cost over-run of $400B-1.8T.

          • Yep, the enviro-whackos are actually standing in the way of reliable, CLEAN power i.e. nuclear.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @12:58PM (#56446601) Homepage Journal

      You go after the largest achievable net reductions.

      Globally 50 million tons of airfreight cargo are carried. Container ships alone carry 1.7 billion tons of cargo annually, and bulk container ships like ore carriers and tankers carry even more than that. You're going to have to achieve huge net increases in airplane efficiency to equal a marginal improvement in ship efficiency, and it's not like people have been ignoring aircraft.

      • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

        And increasing the efficiency of airplanes that are flying is going to be like pulling hen's teeth.

        Consider this: Increasing the efficiency of an airliner's jet engine has reverberating positive effects on the airlines bottom line. A 5% increase in the engine's efficiency can mean:
        -the plane has more range with the same fuel (often, the airliner would like to wait to fill up where the fuel would be cheaper)
        -can carry less fuel, allowing for more paying passengers
        -can carry less fuel, allowing for more pa

      • Ships contribute 2% of total greenhouse gases - cutting it in half leaves us with a 1% reduction in total greenhouse gases, unless shipping volume increases...

        If each ship emits half as much greenhouse gasses in 2050 compared with 2018, but more ships are at sea, it's possible that greenhouse gases in 2050 will exceed current 2018 levels. That's a good thing, as it might otherwise increase more without this agreement, but don't pretend this is some grand fix.

    • Most-efficient doesn't mean optimally efficient or doesn't have more impact then less efficient methods.

      So lets say a cargo ship can ship 1 ton of material 600 miles on 1 gallon gas. But a cargo ship may carry 150,000 tons of product, and travel for thousands of miles. That is a lot of fuel used. So it may be more efficient then other means, it is still a big polluter. And we shouldn't use the fact that is the most efficient as an excuse not to make it better.

       

  • nuclear power? Will they come with a full marine unit or just rent a cops at low wages?

    • They will install a coin operated self destruct mechanism.
      • Unless you invent a Philosophers' Stone that magically converts nuclear material to something inert, there is no 'self destruct mechanism' for any kind of nuclear reactor, unless you have an eject mechanism that dumps it into the ocean -- and even then pirates could be equipped to retrieve it.
        • Read about the SL-1 accident -- pulling out one rod a bit too high blew the reactor sky-high. Literally. Unfortunately, the self-destruction was accompanied by release of nasty radioactives.
        • Nuclear reactors whole purpose is to turn Uranium into something else.
    • They could use thorium, which is safer than uranium. You could design the ships in such a way that the last-ditch safety mechanism for the reactor would be to eject the core into the ocean, where it would have essentially infinite cooling. Also don't most cargo ships employ their own private security anyway? Just arm them better against pirates.
      • Actually, most international ships carry no guns. Didn't you pay attention to "Captain Phillips"? Somehow most shipping companies have decided that even in the face of modern piracy, no guns is safer than trigger-happy sailors.

      • They could use thorium, which is safer than uranium.

        Still dangerous since a notable percentage of ships can be counted on to sink. Doesn't really matter though since nuclear powered cargo ships [wikipedia.org] have been tried and they were not economically competitive. Thorium will not solve that problem. Plus insurance is a huge problem for civilian nuclear vessels.

        You could design the ships in such a way that the last-ditch safety mechanism for the reactor would be to eject the core into the ocean, where it would have essentially infinite cooling.

        And how do you plan to account for the now radioactive particles that will be conveniently spread throughout the ocean? Cooling is not the main problem with nuclear propulsion - pollution is.

        Also don't most cargo ships employ their own private security anyway? Just arm them better against pirates.

        Historically no,

        • Crews on modern cargo ships are quite small, adding a security force would double salary and crew space required - and to what end? They'd ultimately be there serving the same function as a bank guard - to make the patrons feel safer, and to handover their gun if confronted by a bank robber.

          Cargo is insured, crew has escape options, and it's hard to hide a container ship in open water.

  • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

    And they won't make that date either.

    Exempted from Kyoto... LOL. What a joke. Not ratifying these shake down scam agreements is among the best and most admirable thing the US has ever done and the citizens of the US deserve credit for not being suckers.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @12:51PM (#56446563)

    The original proposal was a lot stricter. They wanted to go all green. Three countries where against it, so a compromise was needed. Those countries where Saudi Arabia, Brazil an the USofA, because they said it would be too hard to do.
    Countries that actually build ships ( yes, some are build in the US as well) had no problem with it.

    • Of course the shipbuilding countries were OK with it - everybody has to retrofit their ships, or buy new ones, and the extra buried profit can be arbitrarily high, because they *have no choice, by fiat*.

              Of course, this will also increase costs for basic good, like an extremely regressive tax, increasing the gap from rich too poor. Well done!

      • pfft, shipping costs are small percentage of cost of goods. get a grip

        • by tomhath ( 637240 )
          Not shipping cost, the cost of a ship. Most big ships these days are built in South Korea at around $100M apiece.
          • by Strider- ( 39683 )

            A commercial vessel also typically only runs for 20 to 25 years before being sent to the breakers where it's cut up and recycled by 3rd world workers in horrendous conditions.

          • you're confused, that is all part of shipping costs. really.

            bigger and more efficient ships are built all the time anyway, it's why there are shipbuilders with *growing* order lists

            the builders and operators are EXTREMELY interested in fuel savings

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          I know and building a eco-friendly ship will be apparently only an issue for Saudi Arabia, The USofA and Brazil. The rest of the world, who actually build the majority of the ships, have absolutely no issue with it.
          Not with the minimal price increase for the building of the ship, nor with the technology, that they used as an excuse not to go to 100%.

      • Of course, this will also increase costs for basic good, like an extremely regressive tax, increasing the gap from rich too poor. Well done!

        Better to have more intense hurricanes and rising sea levels. That hits the rich in their oceanfront properties harder than the poor, so it's like a progressive tax!

        • by sinij ( 911942 )

          I think you fail to consider that with climate change, definition of oceanfront property is not limited to houses currently build near the ocean.

    • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      If it is so economical, why do they need to switch bases on governmental fiat? One of the biggest cost centers in any shipping operation is fuel cost. If that can be eliminated...SCORE!!

      • If it is so economical, why do they need

        They don't need. Need doesn't come into it. I earn close to $100 an hour, yet I will still stop to pickup a penny.

  • ...With a fleet of wind-powered cargo ships made of sustainable forest materials, based on ancestral proven designs.

  • Could someone knowledgeable (As opposed as someone with opinions) tell us more technical details here ?

    The experiments i heard about were with classical oil guzzling cargoes which used wind as an additional source of propulsion to decrease fuel consumption. Long ago i heard about experiments with big kites. It seemed cute but i haven't heard about them since. More recently i read about other ships using vertical cylindrical sail using the Magnus effect.

    Each time the advertised fuel saving were modest. Not m

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      Nuclear power on a big ship would make sense if the cheap oil they currently burn is outlawed; really there's no other viable alternative. Sails on a big ship won't do anything, nor will batteries or solar panels.

      This new regulation is nothing more than feel-good public relations anyway, they set the date so far out in the future nothing is going to change until it's time to kick the can down the road again.

      • by Strider- ( 39683 )

        Nuclear power on a big ship would make sense if the cheap oil they currently burn is outlawed; really there's no other viable alternative. Sails on a big ship won't do anything, nor will batteries or solar panels.

        Depends on the size of the sail(s) and how they're operated. You're right, the traditional thought of a sailing ship with masts and fore/aft or square rigged sails near the surface is a non-starter when it comes to commercial shipping. Too labour intensive, and not enough power.

        The proposed wind power techniques for large vessels is to fly (very) large kites/parachutes at a significant altitude. These would be computer controlled/winch operated, and wouldn't require a significant crew to deploy, stow, or op

        • Also rotor ships.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          But as far as i know such systems are experimental and used as a complement only.

          • by tomhath ( 637240 )
            From your wiki article:

            Despite having completed trouble-free crossings of the North Sea and Atlantic the power consumed by spinning 15m tall drums was vastly disproportionate to the propulsive effect when compared with conventional screws (propellers).

            They don't complement conventional engines at all, they consume a lot of energy to provide a small amount of forward force.

        • by tomhath ( 637240 )

          The proposed wind power techniques for large vessels is to fly (very) large kites/parachutes at a significant altitude.

          Whoever is proposing that has no engineering background. A big ship requires over 100,000 hp to move it through the water; a kite on a cable isn't going to do it.

  • Pretty sure that new tariff will be cutting down on shipping emissions as well as China's emissions here in the near future.
  • Back in the 1990s, I invested in various IPOs, including firms that did shipping, but used more modern ship designs that were far more efficient than older style ships, and had a vastly reduced emissions profile as a result.

    Made a killing on that - since fuel consumption was lower and they could meet all the new regulations in a number of foreign ports on emissions and get green shipping contracts, they did very very well.

    Adapt. The world won't wait for your excuses.

    (caveat: I sold out my shares from that

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