Greenhouse Gas Emissions – New Consumer Guide to Eco-friendly Ships

By George Backwell at December 12, 2010 22:59
Filed Under: General

Richard Branson (founder of the iconic Virgin brand that includes Virgin Airways) has put his financial muscle behind the launch of an apparently non-profitmaking website, ShippingEfficiency.org that assigns a 1 to 7 rating for greenhouse gas emission to each and every ship (excepting naval vessels) in a database of about 60,000 ocean going ships.  Branson and like-minded business leaders have it in mind by this means to blow the whistle on ships that fail to measure up in the fight against global warming.

Leader of the project, Peter Boyd, explained the idea in a Sky News interview on 6, December 2010: "You can go online and see an estimate of how clean or dirty the ship is." Meaning that owners can show details of their fleet to eco-friendly shippers and potential charterers, enabling international brand name shippers with global trading patterns to pick ships with the best eco-friendly ratings to carry their products. It is with this business spin-off in mind that may lead some to wonder if the aims of this emission rating project are entirely altruistic, indeed it does seems a touch ironic that the proprietor of a major airline is leading this initiative.

Carbon Footprint Calculation

Broadly, the new website has come up with its own 'Energy Efficiency Rating' using the IMO's 'Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI)' as base, which is calculated on characteristics of ship design, ship capacity, engine power and fuel consumption. In their measure, ShippingEfficiency.org has taken each individual ship (say a container ship of 8,000 TEU) and compared its EEDI value with average values of other ships of that particular type and size. Ratings in descending value from 'A' to 'G' are then assigned to each ship in the database.

Clean or Dirty Ship: Courtesy of ShippingEfficiency.org


Shipping Industry and Environmentalists Differ

To date this greenhouse gas emission rating proposal has not been welcomed by the shipping industry community with open arms. On 8, December 2010, the International Chamber of Shipping's Peter Hinchcliffe raised industry objections in his speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, describing the online ship database as "misleading", pointing out that – "Ships have very different construction and safety requirements depending on their type and trade, which can cause their energy consumption to vary greatly."

Yet there are environmentalists who judge ShippingEfficiency's green house gas emission rating scheme as a potentially helpful development in the campaign against global warming, including the WWF's Dr Simon Walmsley, who correctly predicted that an industry reaction would be provoked, but hoped that all concerned might get together around a table to discuss how a more accurate emission rating system for ships could be worked out.

Comments (2) -

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Mort Wallach, President, PEL Associates |     12/14/2010 12:43:58 PM #

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Tarkovacs Stefan

Tarkovacs Stefan |     12/15/2010 8:29:45 AM #

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