Friday, 26 September 2014


The thing about physics is you can ‘believe’ in it or not, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t believe in gravity apples will still drop off the tree onto your head in the autumn. So it is with climate change. We can grip on to ‘the uncertainty of the science’ but the uncertainty is mostly about how bad the impacts will be. NASA reports there is a 97% consensus across the scientific community that climate warming trends are ‘very likely’ due to human activities. A joint statement from 18 US scientific associations reads: "Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver."

This last weekend across the world people rallied in support of change in our approach to climate change. Joining A list Hollywood stars and global rock legends were Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They, and thousands of other ordinary people young and old, gathered to support global leaders meeting in New York at a UN hosted summit designed specifically to stimulate action to address climate change. 

B9 at the Peoples Climate March

Maersk’s CEO of ‘Shipping and other Services’ Morten Englestoft has been appointed to a high level UN committee whose aim is to reduce emissions, particulate matter (PM) and Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) at all global, national, local and sector levels to promote sustainable transport systems.

Reducing emissions across the entire transport sector is challenging. An interconnected system such as transport interfaces with different modes at different point because of variable stimuli. Moving one part of the system impacts another unintentionally. For example, in introducing Emission Control Areas and thereby increasing the cost of shipping there’s a real risk of driving freight onto roads which is inherently less efficient and more polluting.

Shifting whole systems is a significant challenge which is why consensus is critical. That consensus is building with the large players in the shipping world participating in driving change. How we can effect change amongst smaller operations is less easy to envisage but to avoid being swept along on a tide of other businesses agenda it’s probably worth paying attention to the various technological, operational and systems opportunities available to improve efficiency. Before it becomes mandatory.

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