Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My last night in Brazil; back to cold Pennsylvania tomorrow. I learned just this week that cruise ships emit more carbon per passenger than airplanes. What about freight ships? Several comments to BBC's Ethical Man suggested that he should come to the US by ship, container ship for example, but now I wonder about the carbon emissions of those ships as well. We need a large-scale comeback of sailing ships, new ships equipped with solar collectors and other green technology. 

Did you hear about the French man who climbed a skyscraper in Hong Kong to call attention to global warming?

"Alain Robert, dubbed the French spider-man, has scaled dozens of tall structures without ropes or harnesses, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Empire State Building in New York and Malaysia's Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur...
'The global warming is something that is going to affect the next generation,' Robert told reporters on the ground level. 'The future is really compromised if we are not doing anything.'"


Larry menkes said...


Congratulations on your decision to make this walk. I hope you will be passing thru beautiful Bucks County, PA on your way to CA. Keep us posted so we can marshal our friends to join you when you get near.

As an ex-merchant mariner, I can say that shipping by water is the cheapest form, pound for pound. According to James J. Corbett and Paul Fischbeck, air emissions from ships have not been adequately evaluated for their scientific or policy importance.

As a gross amount, the Guardian, on Saturday 3 March 2007, reports that the world merchant fleet accounts for twice the total emissions of airlines. However, in terms of tonnage of freight I would think it's the least, except for shipping by sail as they are doing (1 vessel) in Puget Sound. There was shipping by sail in the Bahamas years ago, but not sure about recent trends.

Larry Menkes
Bucks Conty Greens

Zeke said...

These carbon emission comparisons are often misleading (sometimes intentionally). According to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, shipping products by air generate up to 57x the GHG emissions per ton-kilometer as ocean freight.
I'm guessing the cruise ship to airplane comparison is not apples-to-apples. A cruise ship is transportation + hotel + entertainment complex.... Not a valid comparison.

Greta said...

Larry and Zeke - Thanks for your comments. I'm delighted that you who are experts in the field are willing to read my blog and put in your observations and, yes, corrections.

I've been learning a lot by looking for quotes to share, reading through the news, websites, blogs. It was my hope from the start that readers would feel free to participate a conversation about the issues.

Thank you for setting the tone. - Greta