Friday, October 28, 2016

U.N. Sets Rules to Cut Sulfur Emissions by Ships from 2020

Smoke is blown from a cargo ship off the coast of Falmouth, Cornwall, Britain at dawn October 7, 2016. (Credit: Reuters/Russell Boyce) Click to Enlarge.
The United Nations' shipping agency set global regulations on Thursday to limit the amount of sulfur emissions from vessels and said they would come into force from 2020.

A session of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee in London set the new requirements, which will see sulfur emissions fall from the current maximum of 3.5 percent of fuel content to 0.5 percent.

The move will add extra costs to the shipping industry at a time when parts of it are going through their worst ever downturn.  Analysts estimate the additional costs for the container shipping sector alone could be $35-$40 billion.

And some also questioned whether refiners would undertake lengthy and costly investments to produce lower sulfur fuel, and so whether there would be enough produced to meet demand.

Environmental groups welcomed the outcome, as well as the 2020 start date.  The IMO had considered the option of delaying introduction of the regulations until 2025.

"This is a landmark decision and we are very pleased that the world has bitten the bullet and is now tackling poisonous sulfuric fuel in 2020," said Bill Hemmings of campaigner Transport & Environment.

"This decision reduces the contribution of shipping to the world’s air pollution impact from about 5 percent down to 1.5 percent and will save millions of lives in the coming decades." 

The shipping industry is among the world's biggest sulfur emitters, with sulfur oxide content in heavy fuel oil up to 3,500 times higher than the latest European diesel standards for vehicles.

Read more at U.N. Sets Rules to Cut Sulfur Emissions by Ships from 2020

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