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Marine tech group warns ship CO2 estimates way too low

Marine tech group warns ship CO2 estimates way too low

The International Maritime Organization is significantly underestimating growth in future carbon dioxide emissions from ships by more than 500 million tons per year, according to the Dutch marine technology company DK Group.

   In a release Monday, the company said the underestimated emissions are roughly equivalent to the entire current emissions output from the aviation industry.

   “Measures to reduce shipping’s carbon footprint should be made mandatory, not voluntarily, as presently stipulated by the IMO,” the company said.

   A report prepared for the IMO in December 2007 predicted marine fuel consumption would rise to 486 million metric tons by 2020 with CO2 levels from ships rising to 1,475 million metric tons over the same period, an increase on previous figures used during discussions at the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting in July 2007.

   A working group of the IMO in February found that ships are creating 1.12 billion tons of CO2. However, Christian Eyde M'ller, chief executive officer of DK Group, said his company has already warned the IMO, during a presentation at the MEPC meeting in July, that the organization’s emission estimates at the time were far too low.

   “We continue to believe the IMO is grossly underestimating future growth in shipping,” M'ller said. “We maintain that CO2 emissions from ships could exceed 2 billion metric tons in 2020, rather than the IMO’s 1.475 billion estimate. This is substantiated by simple calculations based on the huge amount of new build vessels on the order book and the amount of fuel required to power them. In three years from the start of 2007 until the end of 2009 the world fleet will grow by around 21 percent according to order books — equating to a rise of 240 million tons of CO2. It is predicted that the growth in the world fleet will continue at a minimum of 5 percent to 7 percent per annum.”

   At the latest MEPC meeting, the IMO agreed on April 4 to implement new measures that will likely see a phase-in of distillates or 'cleaner fuels' and increased scrubbing technology over the next 12 years.

   'Costs of bunker fuel will also spiral as the shipping industry competes on price for cleaner fuels with other sectors such as the automobile industry,' M'ller said.