Easy to say yet how do we preserve it?
A relentless global population increase is directly proportional to the continued growth in shipping over the past 100 years. Shipping can make a significant contribution to the global carbon reduction target but it needs to accelerate change if it is to avoid being driven by punitive regulation.
Maritime has long been used to disposing of what is left from the refining of crude oil. The industry has been focused on the issue of the residual high sulphur remaining in HFO which is expensive to remove. Burning sulphur and emitting SOx and high NOx to the atmosphere is no longer acceptable in many areas known as ECA’s, these are on the increase. Burning HFO and then scrubbing the exhaust gas and disposing of the waste to the sea or ashore is problematic and or expensive, it is however a short term solution that is likely to be regulated if not prohibited in the near future. For a new ship however the energy choices are becoming much clearer and will continue to do so. Burning gas as we know is far cleaner than residual fuel oils and still cleaner than the more expensive distillate fuels. Such a significant change in the maritime world takes time yet as the momentum builds towards cleaner fuels gas will no doubt have a significant part to play. It is likely that there will be generation of change before we see a significant shift particularly in the passenger and container sectors.
In the meantime, just how good is gas and what is the science that backs up the facts as the industry makes a step change as it did from sail to steam to oil and now to gas.
All other factors aside – a switch to gas is a really strong step in the right direction, but it is not a complete solution more of a commitment to reduce emissions and catch up with other sectors such as road transport and power generation. There is no doubt maritime can do its part in helping to combat climate change by making this change.