The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Paris negotiated a global agreement on the reduction of climate change,
the text of the agreement represents a consensus of the representatives of the 196 parties, including 146 nations
The Paris Agreement, as it has become known, calls for zero net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to be reached during the second half of the 21st century and limiting the post-industrial era temperature increase to, 1.5 °C. The parties will sign the agreement in New York between 22 April 2016 (Earth Day) and 21 April 2017, and also adopt it within their own legal systems through ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession. There is real urgency for global action because some scientists say the World needs to reach zero emissions sometime between 2030 and 2050 to achieve the targets that have been set.
One of the largest consumers of fossil fuels is transportation. Private cars, freight transport, aircraft and shipping all contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, driven by activity and wealth creation of the global economy. It is inevitable that as a result of the Paris Agreement, greater environmental demands will require further limiting legislation to change human behaviour and the way the world works. Most of us will realise that caring for the environment will come at a cost so it usually requires legislation to galvanize collective action. Last year for example, the Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) was introduced to the English Channel, North Sea and Baltic Sea (MARPOL 1973/1978 Agreements – short for Marine Pollution). So far, the impact of this transition has been muted due to a temporary fall in the global price of crude oil. SECA will, of course, be extended to the Irish Sea – in four years - at the start of this decade; it is inevitable that due to a design life of 30+ years for existing tonnage, the extension of SECA will result in a rise in Irish Sea Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) charges.
The decisions Stena Line takes today need to be vested in the long term for our customers, our society and for the future our planet. Stena Line’s Company Strategy leads with the vision of connecting Europe for a sustainable future, so that as a responsible shipping line, it will play a leading role in reducing emissions. Higher costs, as for any business, will bring even greater pressure to drive efficiency to mitigate the effects. This is why our business values are firmly rooted in delivering sustainability and efficiency through care – care for our customers, care for resources and care for each other.
Head of Freight UK & ROI
Sustainability Jargon Buster
In the climate change space, emissions refer to greenhouse gases released into the air that are produced by numerous activities, including burning fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, and melting permafrost, to name a few. These gases cause heat to be trapped in the atmosphere, slowly increasing the Earth’s temperature over time.
A greenhouse gas is a chemical compound found in the Earth’s atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other human-made gases. These gases allow much of the solar radiation to enter the atmosphere, where the energy strikes the Earth and warms the surface. Some of this energy is reflected back towards space as infrared radiation. A portion of this outgoing radiation bounces off the greenhouse gases, trapping the radiation in the atmosphere in the form of heat. The more greenhouse gas molecules there are in the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped, and the warmer it will become.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
The chemical compound carbon dioxide (also known by its shorthand CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas and driver of climate change. It’s an integral part of life cycles on earth, produced through animal respiration (including human respiration) and absorbed by plants to fuel their growth, to name just two ways. Human activities are drastically altering the carbon cycle in many ways.
Two of the most impactful are: one, by burning fossil fuels and adding more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; and two, by affecting the ability of natural sinks (like forests) to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.