10 Sep 2020, 13:59
Benjamin Wehrmann

Most cruise ship operators don't have real climate strategy – NABU

Clean Energy Wire

The majority of cruise ship operators in Europe lack a real strategy for how they intend to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the next decades, German environmental organisation NABU says in its "Cruise Ranking 2020." A survey among Europe's 18 largest cruise ship operators found only a handful of companies have started looking into the development of more environmentally friendly propulsion systems and also launched pilot projects to test new technology. Nine operators said they back the Paris Climate Agreement but failed to present a credible strategy for how they plan to contribute to reaching the agreement's goals, according to NABU. "Climate action in the cruise ship business seems to be little more than lip service right now," the NGO said.

The industry that is currently struggling considerably due to the sharp drop in tourist numbers triggered by the coronavirus pandemic should not be allowed to scale back its environmental investments in light of the crisis, NABU argued. "The industry that so far has been spoiled by success should use this involuntary break to really deal with the question how cruise shipping can have a future," the group said, adding that environmental conditions should be made a prerequisite for any state support for ship operators. NABU argued that the first completely emissions-free cruise ship would have to enter into service no later than 2030 and become the standard for new vessels thereafter to get near the goal of achieving greenhouse gas-neutrality by 2050.

Germany recently has launched an initiative for greening the European shipping sector in the context of its EU Council Presidency. It has also enacted legislation that is aimed at improving the climate impact of large vessels, for example by making the use of land power mandatory in its ports.

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