Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Shipping charts course to cut global warming

Letters to the editor should be sent to: 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB. E-mail: writeback@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

The report that shipping is 'churning out greenhouse gases at nearly twice the rate of aviation' is absolute drivel (Belfast Telegraph, October 15).

To move a tonne of cargo by air produces up to 100 times as much CO2 as moving it the same distance by sea.

Modern ships can emit as little as five grams of CO2 per tonne-kilometre compared with about 50 grams per tonne-kilometre for a heavy truck or 540 grams per tonne-kilometre for a modern aeroplane.

No one can seriously dispute that shipping is by far the most efficient way to transport goods in terms of CO2 emissions. The more freight moved by sea rather than other modes, the better it will be for the environment.

To include unquestioned suggestions that forced reductions in CO2 output from shipping might provide an easy and cost-effective way to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions in a piece that admits that shipping is the most efficient form of transportation (efficient because it burns less fuel per tonne-kilometre - and therefore emits less CO2 per tonne kilometre) is illogical.

Being the most efficient means there is less room for improvement.

To compare total outputs of CO2 is even more absurd. Shipping carries 90% of world trade and 95% of UK trade. It is a vastly bigger industry than aviation and performs a completely different role. It's a bit like comparing all lorry emissions with those of motor scooters. If you do make the comparison, at least get it right.

A modern container ship emits about a quarter of the CO2 that a container ship did in the 1970s - while carrying many more containers. The largest container ships now carry some 13,000 containers - the equivalent of 13,000 lorries not on the motorway in front of you.

Claims that the industry is not regulated are also nonsense. Environmental regulation of shipping goes back over 30 years and the industry is highly regulated.


Mark Brownrigg, Chamber of Shipping, London

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