Industry moves policy forward: Shipping case study
The Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (2008 – 2020), published in December 2008, indicates that environmental considerations should be taken into account in regional planning. The dual goals of increased sustainability and continued growth imply that a regional “green ports” policy is necessary.
This provided the foundation for the Study on the Action Plan for the Bay Area of the Pearl River Estuary, which outlines the possibility of introducing China’s first Emissions Control Area (ECA). (January 2011)
Then, the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation states that: “Guangdong and Hong Kong will progressively adopt air quality objectives and fuel and emission standards for motor vehicles and vessels which are more advanced than other places in the Mainland.” (April 2010)
This is all consistent with what the shipping industry calls for, and what they already do in places like the EU and North America. Leading shipping lines see that the trend is to clean up, and that their impact on the environment is increasingly obvious as vehicle, power plant and other land-based emission sources face tighter regulation and clean up.
The EU estimates that in, Europe, by 2020, more SO2 and NOx emissions will come from vessels than all land-based sources combined.
In North America, regulators are also working to reduce emissions from vessels, which have a disproportionate effect on public health because of bunker fuel’s toxicity, and how close ports are to populations centres.
Having global regulation through the International Maritime Organization makes compliance simple. Port authorities in Europe, North America, and now Asia (with Singapore’s MPA recently pledging S$100 million for green ship incentives) understand that a green port is a competitive port, and offer incentives for ships that perform better than what they’re regulated to do.
So far in China, emissions from ships and ports are not regulated, nor are ships incentivized to be cleaner. Industry must, however, continue to press for tighter regulations here.
An easy way to do this is to submit a response to the QLA Document. The consultation period ends 30 November 2011.