Cutting ship speeds will benefit climate

Research from Seas at Risk (S&R) and Transport & Environment (T&E) has shown the significant impact that reducing ship speeds could have to both the climate and environment.

On 11 November, the pair published a report, ahead of the latest UN ship climate negotiations at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), in which they explained how reducing ship speeds by 20% would cut underwater noise pollution by 66%, while also lowering the chance of a fatal collision between a ship and a whale by 78%. It was further found to have a substantial positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions, leading to reduced fuel burn, lower black carbon, sulphur and nitrogen oxides.

The report noted that sulphur and nitrogen oxides have serious implications for human health, while black carbon has been considered responsible for accelerating global warming in the Arctic. John Maggs of S&R referred to speed reduction as the closest thing to a “silver bullet” that the IMO would ever see.

Seas at Risk