Originally published 11/14/2022
Update: Today’s Portland Press Herald reported on the growing container ship traffic in Portland, Maine. The conundrum is that while this is good for Maine, Portland, and the many benefiting businesses, all this is driven by fossil fuels. Green ships are in our future, but that’s a way down the sea lanes.
According to a study published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, a cruise ship emits the equivalent of about 12,000 autos on a typical cruise. Even while docked, their engines emit more carbon to power their systems than dozens of large trucks. The City of Portland, Maine, among others, are considering dockside power stations so these ships would not have to run their engines for power. Portland can simultaneously dock two large cruise ships, and several cargoes and tanker ships.
Cruise and cargo ships are also becoming far more prevalent in Arctic waters given the summer ice melt and open waters. Their emissions will accelerate warming in the Arctic region. In the coming micro-industrialized period, global trade will dwindle. This is yet another good reason to act now to reduce carbon emissions, lest the environment does it for us.