Thousands of ships fitted with ‘cheat devices’ to divert poisonous pollution into sea

Thousands of ships fitted with ‘cheat devices’ to divert poisonous pollution into sea

SOURCE: Independent DATE: September 29, 2019 SNIP: Global shipping companies have spent millions rigging vessels with “cheat devices” that circumvent new environmental legislation by dumping pollution into the sea instead of the air, The Independent can reveal. More than £9.7m has been spent on the devices, known as open-loop scrubbers, which extract sulphur from the exhaust fumes of ships that run on heavy fuel oil. This means the vessels meet standards demanded by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that kick in on 1 January. However, the sulphur emitted by the ships is simply re-routed from the exhaust and expelled into the water around the ships, which not only greatly increases the volume of pollutants being pumped into the sea, but also increases carbon dioxide emissions. The change could have a devastating effect on wildlife in British waters and around the world, experts have warned. For every ton of fuel burned, ships using open-loop scrubbers emit approximately 45 tons of warm, acidic, contaminated washwater containing carcinogens including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a non-profit organisation that provides scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Heavy metal pollution has been connected to damage to the central nervous system in humans and animals while PAHs have been blamed for skin, lung, bladder, liver, and stomach cancers. The ICCT has estimated that cruise ships with scrubbers will consume around 4 million tons of heavy fuel oil in 2020 and will discharge 180 million tons of contaminated scrubber washwater...
We’re about to kill a massive, accidental experiment in reducing global warming

We’re about to kill a massive, accidental experiment in reducing global warming

SOURCE: MIT Technology Review DATE: January 22, 2018 SNIP: Studies have found that ships have a net cooling effect on the planet, despite belching out nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. That’s almost entirely because they also emit sulfur, which can scatter sunlight in the atmosphere and form or thicken clouds that reflect it away. In effect, the shipping industry has been carrying out an unintentional experiment in climate engineering for more than a century. Global mean temperatures could be as much as 0.25 ˚C lower than they would otherwise have been, based on the mean “forcing effect” calculated by a 2009 study that pulled together other findings. For a world struggling to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 ˚C, that’s a big helping hand. And we’re about to take it away. In 2016, the UN’s International Maritime Organization announced that by 2020, international shipping vessels will have to significantly cut sulfur pollution. There are very good reasons to cut sulfur: it contributes to both ozone depletion and acid rain, and it can cause or exacerbate respiratory problems. But as a 2009 paper in Environmental Science & Technology noted, limiting sulfur emissions is a double-edged sword. “Given these reductions, shipping will, relative to present-day impacts, impart a ‘double warming’ effect: one from [carbon dioxide], and one from the reduction of [sulfur dioxide],” wrote the authors. “Therefore, after some decades the net climate effect of shipping will shift from cooling to...