The Exciting Possibilities of Maritime Shipping Decarbonization

June 20, 2021

The who, what, when, where, and how of decarbonization.

On this episode, hosts Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham are joined by guest host Taylor Goelz (host of ASPN's Ocean Decade Show! and Program Manager of the Shipping Decarbonization Initiative at The Aspen Institute) to discuss the exciting future trends of maritime shipping decarbonization. Joining the show is Bryan Comer, the Marine Program Lead at The International Council on Clean Transportation. The conversation covers why it is important to decarbonize maritime shipping and how can it be done, and well as covering the legal and regulatory framework that governs maritime transportation. They also discuss new technologies that are being used and developed such as hydrogen and sail, as well as failures, such as the rapidly growing number of ships are being fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems, or “scrubbers,” as a way to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 global fuel sulfur limit. Scrubbers remove sulfur from ship exhaust by spraying a buffer solution, usually seawater, over it and then discharging the washwater overboard, often without treatment. The washwater is more acidic than the surrounding seawater and contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, particulate matter, nitrates, nitrites, and heavy metals including nickel, lead, copper, and mercury. Scrubber washwater is toxic to some marine organisms, harms others, and can worsen water quality.

Note: Since this show was recorded, the IMO conducted meetings that were disappointing once again. The short term measures for reducing emissions can actually lead to increases in emission and lack any sort of enforcement. Proposals for medium term measures were "punted" to the fall, so stay tuned to future episode as we follow this issue and the IMO's actions.

Show Transcription
This transcription was generated by a computer. Please excuse any errors.
Peter Ravella & Tyler Buckingham

Peter and Tyler joined forces in 2015 and from the first meeting began discussing a project that would become Coastal News Today and the American Shoreline Podcast Network. At the time, Peter and Tyler were coastal consultants for Pete’s firm, PAR Consulting, LLC. In that role, they worked with coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, engaged in grant writing, coastal project development, shoreline erosion and land use planning, permitting, and financial planning for communities undertaking big beach restoration projects. Between and among their consulting tasks, they kept talking and kept building the idea of CNT & ASPN. In almost every arena they worked, public engagement played a central role. They spent thousands of hours talking with coastal stakeholders, like business owners, hotel operators, condo managers, watermen, property owners, enviros, surfers, and fishermen. They dived deep into the value, meaning, and responsibility for the American shoreline, segment-by-segment. Common threads emerged, themes were revealed, differences uncovered. There was a big conversation going on along the American shoreline! But, no place to have it. That's where CNT and ASPN were born.