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Behavior Change
Branson, Carbon War Room Call for More Ports Fighting CO2

The number of sea ports using ship evaluation systems to decrease carbon emissions will expand from two to 10 in the next year, according to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Bloomberg reports.

Branson is a founder of the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit that rates ship efficiency.

Port Metro, Vancouver and the Prince Rupert Port Authority in Canada already use a system that ranks 60,000 vessels in the merchant fleet with an A-to-G scale for fuel efficiency — ships rated A get the biggest discounts on port fees. Metro gave $1.1 million in discounts last year, while Prince Rupert budgeted for $100,000 this year, according to Bloomberg.

The Port of Rotterdam — Europe’s largest port — will also begin looking at how it can encourage more efficient vessels, according to a recent announcement. Rotterdam already discounts port fees to ships which emit low levels of nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, which amounted to $2.3 million in 2013. The port is exploring how to extend the port-fee discount program to low-carbon emitting ships.

Ninety percent of international trade travels by ship. Shipping was responsible for 2.7 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2007, according to the most recent estimates from the UN’s International Maritime Organization. Global emissions are expected to triple by 2050 if current practices continue unchanged.

Last year, Forum for the Future collaborated with WWF to frame and facilitate the creation of a coalition of global shipping leaders and key industry stakeholders: the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI). Together, its membership is taking practical steps to tackle some of the sector’s greatest opportunities and challenges. The organization is hoping to establish new good practices that ensure that the shipping industry is both profitable and sustainable by 2040. The ultimate goal is to show that collaborative action is possible and that, by mobilizing support across the industry, shipping itself can contribute to a sustainable future.

Average carbon-dioxide emissions for a majority of global ocean container transports have declined year on year, and by nearly 8 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to a report by BSR released in August. The BSR Clean Cargo Working Group’s 2014 Global Maritime Trade Lane Emissions Factors report provides data from more than 2,900 ships, representing around 85 percent of global ocean container capacity, and is designed to help global ocean transport providers and their shipping customers to measure, evaluate and report on environmental performance data.

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