Finding the route to zero emission cruise

Bellona/Jan Kjetil Paulsen

Publiseringsdato: 25. februar, 2019

A recent seminar organized by Bellona, uncovered a substantial gap between political goals and the cruise industry's ability to comply. The politicians must work closely with the industry to make it a mutual commitment, says Bellona's Jan Kjetil Paulsen.

At Bellona’s seminar on the 13th of February, politicians and representatives from the cruise industry and select technology companies, discussed how to meet the goals of reduced emission in Norwegian ports, including zero emission in the world heritage fjords.

State Secretary Atle Hamar from the Ministry of Climate and Environment, presented the government’s goal for reducing emissions from both land based and maritime transport.

The newly formed government coalition most recent ambition is to reduce climate gas emission by 45% within 2030. The Parliament wants zero emission cruise in world heritage fjords by 2026.

Kjetil Lund It is important that all ports and destinations have the same requirements, said Kjetil Lund. Credit: Bellona/Sissel Forsberg

Vice Mayor Kjetil Lund from Oslo City presented their 14-point declaration for reducing emissions from cruise operations, which also mayors from several other cruise destinations have signed.

Speakers from Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Viking Cruises and Hurtigruten gave a brief presentation of recent developments and technology improvements to reduce emissions and improve air quality at the visited destinations.

The presentations and following panel discussions uncovered a substantial gap between political goals and the industry’s ability to comply with these. The technology will not be available within the requested timeframe, and some of the proposed regulations can only be achieved by banning ships and reduce overall cruise activity.

Atle Hamar Atle Hamar, State Secretary: – There should be national regulation, but it takes some work. First we have to do world heritage fjords as decided by parliament. Credit: Bellona/Sissel Forsberg

Unfortunately some of the political processes that have taken place, seem to have missed an important part; namely to involve the industry and work together to find the best possible solutions.

Political «overbidding» and opportunism camouflaged as environmental responsibility, without involvement and accountability from the industry, will not makes us reach the goals. Bellona believes in working together with the industry to find solutions that contributes to developing a sustainable and economically viable development.

Sorely needed infrastructure

Some goals can be achieved by new technology or by new business models and value chains. A common factor for all is that there is a tremendous need to build new infrastructure and stimulate the local communities, energy companies, grid operators and technology providers to develop the new infrastructure that will be needed.

Tom Strang Tom Strang, Senior Vice President Maritime Affairs in Carnival, said that they don't know today which solution that will create zero emission cruise in the future. Credit: Bellona/Sissel Forsberg

This applies not only for the cruise sector, which represents a limited part of shipping activities along the Norwegian coast. A large-scale industry initiative to develop what is needed for the cruise industry, will also have large positive ripple-effects for other maritime sectors.

Shore power, charging stations, and production and supply of new energy carriers (like biogas, hydrogen or ammonia) will be needed for cargo vessels, passenger vessels, fisheries and aquaculture along the Norwegian coast. We have a long coastline and we need to get started!

A mutual commitment

We can learn a lot from the cruise line operators when it comes to technology, and working together with this industry will be a unique opportunity for Norway to start a historical public-private industrial partnership to develop sustainable and future-proof solutions.

Both politicians and the industry claimed a strong willingness and desire to work together. Let us hold them accountable to this and help them make it a mutual commitment.