Jul 30, 2020 05:52 PM

Loose Shipping Pollution Rules Leading to Smog Spikes, Environmentalists Say


What’s new: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, released a report (link in Chinese) on Tuesday urging China to tighten nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission regulations in the shipping industry, as current rules governing the ozone-destroying compound only apply to some newly-built vessels.

In the long term, China should tighten emission standards for marine engines, impose stringent emission regulations on all in-service river and coastal vessels, and increase the availability of shore power by requiring all inland vessels to use it when berthed or waiting to pass through locks, said the report.

Peng Chuansheng, a leading policy researcher at the China Waterborne Transport Research Institute said at a Tuesday press conference that liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transitional fuel can be used as an important way to address the current challenges of decarbonizing shipping.

The background: China has been facing an acute air pollution problem in the shipping industry due to weak emission standards. Before the latest environmental regulations were released, more than 70% of in-service river vessels were launched despite having a poor capacity for emission control. The country’s national emission standards for marine engines are also much lower than those for trucks and vehicles that don’t travel on the road.

China’s upcoming national 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) offers a good opportunity for the country to set national priorities for “greening” the shipping industry, wrote Barbara Finamore, one of the authors of the report, in a blog. The NRDC has been working to support China in shipping pollution control for the past three decades.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

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