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On the eve of the latest round of Imo in London meetings on workable measures to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets a new report published by Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment have produced a new report which highlights how slower ship speeds would benefit human health, nature and the climate.

While the large positive effect reduced speeds can have on ship GHG emissions is known little attention has been given to the positive effect such a change in speeds would have on nature and human health.

The report says a 20% reduction in ship speed would reduce underwater noise pollution by 66%. The report notes, reduced ship speed means reduced fuel burn, resulting not just in reductions in GHG emissions but also big reductions in carbon, sulphur and nitrogen oxides, all important air pollutants. SOx and NOx emissions have serious implications for human health, while CO2 is a concern in the Arctic where it is responsible for accelerating global heating.

“Speed reduction is the closest thing to a silver bullet Imo will ever see” said John Maggs from Seas at Risk. “Delegates attending this week’s Imo climate negotiations have on the table proposals to reduce ship speed that would not just make a big dent in shipping’s climate impact but would massively reduce air pollution, underwater noise pollution, and the incidence of fatal collisions between whales and ships, all issues Imo must also deal with.”

“Killing four birds with one stone is pretty good, but when you add in that it saves shipowners money on their fuel bill, it really is a no-brainer”, said Faig Abbasov from Transport & Environment.

– Filed: 2019-11-13