Oh, Canada! Our neighbors to the north are creatively incentivizing their industries to be profitable and environmental. Here’s how.
Two major Canadian ports are offering financial incentives to ship owners whose vessels have low overall emission of greenhouse gases and relative energy efficiency compared to ships of similar size and type. The Canadian west coast ports are using an A-to-G rating system for greenhouse gas emission. The system was developed by RightShip and the Carbon War Room. As you might expect, vessels are rated from A, being the most efficient, to G, being the least efficient.
Port Metro Vancouver’s Eco-Action Program and Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Green Wave program are among the first in the world to offer rewards to the most efficient vessels that enter their ports.
The International Maritime Organization, or IMO, acknowledged that greenhouse gas emissions attributable to international shipping are a tricky thing, mainly because the emissions can’t necessarily be attributed to one particular country. As shipping becomes more pronounced in light of growing international trade, efforts to encourage energy efficiency can be a bit complicated.
In 2009, IMO released an assessment of the level of greenhouse gases emitted by ships internationally: 879 million tons, or about 2.7 percent, of the global man-made emissions of carbon dioxide in 2007. Efforts are underway to update this study in light of the global economic crisis in 2008, as well as the related fast pace of recovery in international trade since then.
The source? Exhaust gases, which make up the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions from ships and of carbon dioxide.
Consider this: The energy consumption of a bulk ship carrier is equal to that of 113 semi trucks, or 4,160 compact cars. Interestingly, in the United States, the American Clean Skies Foundation recently commissioned a study examined the effect of converting from diesel to natural gas in shipping.
There are obvious hurdles to achieving this objective, mainly one of infrastructure, which could be a costly investment. But, utilization of natural gas by America’s shipping industry would not only provide greater fuel flexibility, according to the American Clean Skies Foundation, but the reduction in nitric oxide and greenhouse gas emissions would be substantial.
Given the fact that natural gas is an affordable commodity and a sure bet, maybe one day the shipping industry will get a financial incentive both for being energy efficient and for using a cleaner, cheaper source of energy while helping to clean the air around the world.
Now that’s another reason why the U.S. and Canada can continue to maintain the longest-running peaceful border in the world.
I’ve had the good luck of 11 summer fishing trips to north-central Ontario and I have witnessed firsthand the magnificence that Canada is rightly working to preserve. Our national beauty is worthy of similar incentives and protections.