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A recent study paints a striking picture of the environmental footprint of the cruise industry. According to The European Federation for Transport and Environment, 63 cruise ships owned by Carnival Corporation emitted 43% more sulfur oxides, a form of harmful air pollutant, than all the cars in Europe combined in 2022.
Source: CBC News/YouTube
Although these figures signify a considerable decrease from previous years, they still carry profound implications for our environment. The decline is primarily attributed to the 2020 regulation from the International Maritime Organization, which reduced the permissible sulfur content limit in ship fuel.
However, this hasn’t curbed the growing number of cruise ships or their increased time spent at European ports, leading to higher fuel consumption. Consequently, in 2022, cruise ships emitted 9% more sulfur oxides than they did in 2017.
Sulfur oxides pose significant risks to human health and the environment, contributing to respiratory issues, air Pollution, and acid rain. Even though sulfur particles in the atmosphere can counteract some Global warming effects by reflecting solar radiation back into space, they cannot offset the harmful impact of these pollutants completely.
Moreover, the carbon dioxide emissions from cruise ships contribute directly to Global warming. In 2022, their CO2 emissions equated to those from 50,000 flights between Paris and New York, a 17% increase from 2019.
Faced with increasing scrutiny over their environmental impact, the cruise industry is investing in alternative energy sources, such as liquefied natural gas and shore power. Although promising, these alternatives come with their own set of challenges, including potential methane leaks, a potent greenhouse gas.
In light of this, Carnival Corporation has vowed to reduce its carbon intensity by 40% by 2030, aiming for carbon-neutral operations by 2050. The company has equipped about 60% of its global fleet with technology to connect to shore-side power, reducing fuel consumption and carbon intensity by 15% per cabin since 2019.
While these initiatives mark a positive step, they underline the necessity for continued innovation and robust sustainability measures across all industries to address Climate change effectively.
- Cruise Ship Companies Are Working Towards Finding Cleaner Fuel Sources
- The First “Sustainable” Residential Cruise Ship is Set to Launch in 2025
- Cruise Ships Traveling to Alaska Are Leaving Behind A Trail of Toxic Waste in Canadian Waters
- Cruise Ship Employees Still Stuck at Sea Quarantined in Tiny Cabins During Pandemic
- Top 10 Eco-Friendly Cruises for the Conscientious Traveler
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