New UN Shipping Rules to Boost Climate Change, Wipe 3% Off US GDP by 2020

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The United Nations International Maritime Organisation is in the process of introducing new marine diesel standards which economists worry will have a serious negative impact on Climate Change and the US economy.

Sulphur-emissions rules for shipping will worsen global warming

The IMO’s rules could also wipe 3% off America’s GDP

The imo will cut emissions of sulphur either by reducing its content in marine fuel from 3.5% to 0.5% from 2020 or by requiring ships to remove it from exhaust fumes. Sulphur from ships causes acid rain and air pollution, which contributes to between 212,000 and 595,000 premature deaths a year and 14m cases of childhood asthma, according to research published in Nature Communications in February.

Most shipowners will switch to pricier low-sulphur fuels. But if all ships did so in 2020, demand for them would double (see chart) and the industry’s fuel bill would rise by $60bn, roughly the entire sum spent in 2016, say analysts at Wood Mackenzie, a research firm. It would also have a dramatic impact on aviation and road transport. Ships run on a heavy residue that remains after petrol, diesel and other lighter hydrocarbons are extracted from crude oil in refining. Competition for lighter fuel that clean ships require could raise the price of diesel for lorries by 50% and for jet fuel by 30-40% in 2020, reckons Philip Verleger, an energy economist. The resulting spike in global transport costs, he says, would hit world trade and wipe a staggering 3% off America’s gdp and 1.5% off the whole world’s in 2020.

Worse still is the effect of the new rules on global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a un-backed body, says sulphur emissions have a net cooling effect because they scatter sunlight in the atmosphere. Sulphur also helps to form and thicken clouds that reflect sunlight away from the Earth.

Read more: https://www.economist.com/business/2018/10/27/sulphur-emissions-rules-for-shipping-will-worsen-global-warming

The rationale behind the move is apparently a study published in February, which suggested cleaner burning fuel would substantially reduce childhood asthma rates, and deaths from diesel particulates.

As someone who suffers from pollution triggered asthma I am concerned about pollution.

But according to The Economist, this UN rule change will have a devastating global economic impact, especially on the USA.

Large shippers will be able to afford expensive scrubbers, but the expense will put small shippers at a serious commercial disadvantage; small shippers will be forced to either buy expensive low sulphur diesel, putting pressure on road transport and aircraft diesel supplies, or small shippers will have to pay for expensive smokestack scrubbers they can’t really afford.

Big shipping companies will potentially make an enormous profit from this UN rule change, at the expense of their smaller competitors and the rest of the global economy.

Wiping 3% off US GDP, and spiking transport fuel prices by 50% may also have a political impact on the USA, around the time of the next Presidential election.

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142 thoughts on “New UN Shipping Rules to Boost Climate Change, Wipe 3% Off US GDP by 2020

  1. As I understand most ships burn lighter and cleaner diesel when approaching and while in port. Out at sea, they burn the heavy stuff, so I don’t see what the issues is. I have seen an increase in ships being launched that burn gas so I think the industry is making changes already without “guidance” from the UN.

    • Of the 50,000 ocean going ships, today only a few hundred burn natural gas as fuel.

      That should double in the next couple years, but this regulation which passed 2 years ago is given credit for the acceleration in LNG fueled ship orders because it increases the cost of traditionally fueled ships by about 20%. LNG fueled become cheapest to operate.

      But note the increase in LNG fueled ships you are seeing is likely a consequence of this regulation not a natural evolution of the industry.

      • If this measure reduces aerosols and cloud it will boost warming. This will be a godsend to the warmists whose models have proven to warm far too fast. They are hoping an praying for more warming so that they can say : we were right , you must now do everything we say.

      • This is so stupid, we should profit fully from all fractions of oil , not waste this valuable resource.

        How many “asthma” patients are in international waters? I’ll bet that they are comparing the effects of diesel output confined in cities to shipping exhaust, which is not contained and disperses.

        • Greg,

          RE: This is so stupid, we should profit fully from all fractions of oil , not waste this valuable resource.

          No one is proposing wasting it.

          The goal is to get refineries built in the 1960’s modernized to where they don’t fail to refine so much of the crude oil input. A modern refinery built in recent decades simply doesn’t have so much residual fuel oil in the first place.

          Personally, if it is at all financially feasible I think 100% of crude oil should be refined into “distillate fuels”. I’m not a refinery expert, but I’m perfectly happy seeing 50 year old refineries having to go through an upgrade cycle.

          • I’ve always been fascinated about how some people are happy to force others to do things.

            If such upgrades were economically viable, they would already have been done.

            If you believe that such upgrades are a good deal, open you wallet and pay for them yourself.

          • Only about 50% of crude oil goes into transportation their are numerous other benefits that mankind enjoy from crude oil processing, just look around you and see all the thing that we forget are products like plastics, tires, etc. Even our roads are mostly asphalt from crude oil.
            Without Synthetic rubber for tires WW 2 would have been difficult since Japan took over the rubber plantations, what an invention by our industry.
            The discussion mixes up lighter products with sulfur content. Virtually every refinery has implemented sulfur removal and conversion technology or they have gone out of business, in my 50 plus years in the business I have worked on implementing both technologies. Refining is a high Tech and highly competitive business and refineries that don’t compete SHUTDOWN With few exceptions where they have access to expensive low sulfur, light crude.

          • I have posted this video before, but it reminds one of the innovation in the refining industry that upgraded heavy fuels to provide sufficient high octane gasoline to keep our fighter pilots in the air during WW II in Europe and in the far east.
            This process still today is an essential part of Refining and is still constantly being improved in part by improved catalyst development technology. Sulfur is removed from the effluent of the Catcracking Process, but different processes are used to meet the low sulfur requirements in the liquid product fuels which is the subject of the original posting for ships. Virtually all refineries employ Catcracking units since the value of the products are considerably increased (at large capital cost).
            Most refineries have already implemented sulfur removal from many products mostly using hydro-desulfurization processes at higher pressures to meet required sulfur levels (i.e. Low sulfur diesel). Apparently the allowable sulfur level for shipping via offshore is higher than allowed in the US for trucks which is the subject of the UN shipping rules.

          • Catcracking,

            You certainly have experience I don’t have so explain the basics to me:

            – today 8 million barrels per day of “residual fuel oil” with sulfur content 35,000 PPM is produced and consumed.

            In 14 months, that changes to 5 million barrels per day in very short order (weeks? months?). The main plan I have read is take the other 3 million will have it be refined to have very low sulfur content (near zero ppm), then mix it 6 parts to one with residual fuel oil to get a 5,000 ppm fuel.

            The industry is said to have spent billions in the 2017-2019 timeframe modifying refineries to adapt to the change.

            Per your comment, they should have had no trouble meeting the new fuel mix need, so why are they spending billions?

          • Ironarganaut,

            Heating oil isn’t a residual oil product.

            Most states in the NE US require heating oil have a max of 15 PPM sulfur already.

            The change in the open ocean is to establish a max of 5,000 PPM.

            But, I expect the price of heating oil will be higher next winter, so stock up at the end of this winter?

          • Sorry about delayed reply, I did not intend to indicate that it is easy to satisfy the new Sulfur requirements but to indicate that Most refineries have been upgrading as required continuously. I worked for the central engineering of a major oil company, not as a Process engineer, and most of the projects involved upgrading or expanding the refining units to meet latest EPA requirements or upgrade technology. It has been a continuous effort, thanks for job security.
            I am not familiar with current strategy but typically there is a major investment to remove sulfur ppm from product employing expensive long lead time large diameter heavy wall vessels operating at high temperatures/pressures, special catalyst, sulfur plants, hydrogen plants and equipment to separate the sulfur from the product. It takes a long time,investment, and plot space to implement.
            Large majors have the resources but the smaller refineries can struggle to meet the requirements. When low sulfur diesel was implemented by Obama the sulfur level mandated was so low that existing technology had difficulties in meeting the requirements. Smaller refineries were significantly challenged, some probably went out of business.
            While I am not familiar with the economics, the impact of the article seems to be exaggerated and the timescale too short and lacking good data to justify the theoretical benefits. As one can expect taking out the last ppm of sulfur is not viable.

    • How in the world does the UN have any power to control the fuel we burn? Who gave them this power? They need to be ignored? So what, if the UN disapproves of you or your country>

    • China will just ignore it. Like they ignore everything else they don’t like about the UN e.g. Coal fired, power stations, human rights, freedom of speech, international waters…….etc.

      You will of course note I didn’t include democracy as they are in agreement with the UN about that, to eradicate it.

  2. This proposal does look like something the US should veto.
    And the duplicate comment filter is acting up again.

  3. 1.5% of global GDP, wouldn’t that be more than the existing growth of global GDP? So negative growth?

    • I’m guessing that the 1.5% is cummulative over several years.
      It’s going to take a number of years to phase this in.

  4. “… wipe a staggering 3% off America’s gdp [sic]” which may actually be the point.

    • Correct, there is a strong tendency within the UNCCCP which is out to destroy capitalism and redistribute what “wealth” is left.

    • Well, if shipping costs go up then making more of the low cost manufactured stuff in the U.S. (and Canada and Mexico) will be more competitive, so the net result could actually be bring more jobs home.

      There are always unintended consequences of any regulation.

  5. Fortunately the UN is not yet a global government. It has no way to create or enforce laws. Asman say in Canada, “Are we still a member of this thing?”

  6. “…cleaner burning fuel would substantially reduce childhood asthma rates, and deaths from diesel particulates.” As an asthmatic, I wish that were true, but the science on those maladies is still little understood.

  7. OOPS – this puts a cat among the pigeons. The more I hear of all the “climate-change” problems facing our anxious world – the more I laugh. What a circus we all are privileged to watch – and all for free.

  8. Luckily its only something the UN is suggesting. Not seriously think that the US and China et al are going to actually do this?

        • The major shipping lines of the world expect IMO 2020 to be enforced.

          They are having to spend 10’s of millions per ship in many cases to get them in compliance but still burn residual fuel oil, or even more per ship to buy new ships that are inherently in compliance because they burn LNG.

          Oil refineries have already invest billions on preparing for Jan 1, 2020.

          This entire discussion is crying over spilt milk. The regulations are in place. The schedule is set. Industry has moved to prepare. Industry might be behind schedule, but in a year or two after the new regulations kick in life will be back the way it was, except far less sulfur will be emitted to the atmosphere.

          In terms of sulfur:

          The US has about 8 million semi-trucks. They burn 15 PPM diesel. Massive ocean going ships easily burn 200x more fuel, and that fuel has about 2,500x the sulfur density.

          That means a single large ocean going container ship emits 500,000 trucks worth of sulfur.

          It only takes 16 large ocean going container ships to emit as much sulfur at the entire US semi-truck fleet.

          Sulfur is a horrible pollutant. Think about the above for a second before you rush to the support of what is probably the dirtiest industry in the 21st century world.

          The Trump admin just made a last minute appeal to the IMO to get the schedule delayed. The IMO said, no way.

          • Yes sulfur makes smelly molecules . But it’s part of the biological cocktail . It’s in the oil because it’s part of the cycle of life .

            It’s not an unmitigated evil anymore than the chlorine GreenPeace hilariously stupidly ranted about some years ago .

          • Sulfur is a horrible pollutant. Think about the above for a second before you rush to the support of what is probably the dirtiest industry in the 21st century world.

            Wow. Terrified of sulfur emitted out over the oceans much? Alot of other things concern me more.

          • That means a single large ocean going container ship emits 500,000 trucks worth of sulfur.

            It only takes 16 large ocean going container ships to emit as much sulfur at the entire US semi-truck fleet.

            And the argument can be turned around. Why should we do anything with the pollution from trucks as long as 16 ocean going ships pollute as much as all US semis.

            Alas, this agument cannot be used after 2020.

            One less argument against cleaner air. Bad for those who like smog.
            /Jan

          • Number 1 polluter in Washington state, MT St Helens. Guess what that volcano emits? Guess where people love to hike? The lush green forests surrounding it.

          • Totalitarians are always eager to spend other people’s money for imaginary benefits.

            Remember, does makes the poison.

        • How did the UN get this power? Or is it made up out of thin air? Who gave them this power?

          Who cares if the UN disapproves of the fuel you or your country burn? It matters not. The UN needs to be disbanded almost completely.

  9. The proposal sounds questionable at best, but could it possibly result in a 3% hit to US GDP? That would be huge! About $600 Billion. That’s more than the entire Transport component of GDP.

    • This isn’t a proposal. It was passed 2 years ago. Day 1 of implementation is 14 months away. Jan 1, 2020.

      • Greg, you’re missing the point of my comment. How can the impact of this “thing” on the US economy be $600 Billion per year?

        • Eric,

          I’m not an economist, but my guess is:

          – 50 billion gallons/yr of diesel+aviation fuel in the US (fact)

          – $1.50/gallon jump in cost (highly unlikely)

          – $75B increase in fuel cost

          – 8x multiplier as the expense through the economy (no idea what the right multiplier is)

          – $600B net impact

        • The numbers are from Philip Verleger, the same guy that warned that the Keystone XL would have such horrendous negative impact on the US Economy.

          In my opinion, he has no credibility at all.

          /Jan

  10. Actually, a lateral move, no matter how symbolic, is part of the “Peter Prescription”.

    Gov. Brown is a late sixties – early seventies kind of guy, so he would
    accept such a diagnosis as a remedy under his holistic health care package.

  11. I am sorry to hear you live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a major shipping route subject to particulate pollution affecting your asthma.

  12. The supporting “evidence” does not make sense.

    The referenced paper claims that the new standard will reduce ship emissions from 12.1 million tons to 2.8 million tons. Those emission numbers seemed small for the predicted health impacts so I checked another reference that gave a higher but same order of magnitude number. The Economist article predicts major cost impacts for this 9.4 million ton reduction.

    The study published in February claims: Prior to cleaner ship fuels, ship-related health impacts include ~400,000 premature deaths from lung cancer and cardiovascular disease and ~ 14 million childhood asthma cases annually. Reduced PM2.5 from marine engine combustion mitigates ship-related premature mortality and morbidity by 34 and 54%, respectively.
    Total emissions from all sectors in the United States were 31.2 million tons in 1970, 23.1 million tons in 1990, 16.3 million tons in 2000, 7.7 million tons in 2010 and were only 2.8 million tons in 2017. Because these emissions were all from sources in the United States the resulting ambient concentrations per ton emitted have to be much higher than the concentrations from ships traveling all over the globe.

    In order for this regulation to make sense we would have to observe improvements in these health parameters due to the reductions in the US which are larger and should have had bigger health impacts. Anyone see these improvements? Anyone?

    • Seconded!

      Nor is it just the US that has reduced emissions dramatically. Canada and Europe also drastically cut emissions. Yes some of these have been off set by the rise of emissions from 3rd world countries as they modernize their economies, but they were built on much cleaner technologies in the first place, and I doubt they come even close to producing anywhere near as much as the first world cut.

      Gone are the days when jokes like “I shot an arrow into the sky… and it stuck there” make any sense to the vast majority of people.

    • .. Anyone see these improvements? Anyone?…

      I have a model which shows those improvements precisely…. and any other impact you would find politically useful…

    • It’s a magic trick. A number for TOTAL premature deaths is given, but only the percentage reduction for SHIP-RELATED deaths. The mind wants to apply the only number given to the only percentage given, but they don’t relate. Perhaps the “ship-related” premature deaths is estimated at 11, and will be cut down to 6. You don’t know.

    • I remember reading a couple years ago that asthma rates are going up as our air gets cleaner to breath and researchers are scratching their heads trying to figure out what is going on. s

  13. So now we learn that SO2 pollution is a good thing and helping to save the planet.

    The logic of the alarmist brigade is in a league of its own.

  14. small shippers will be forced to either buy expensive low sulphur diesel, putting pressure on road transport and aircraft diesel supplies, or small shippers will have to pay for expensive smokestack scrubbers they can’t really afford.

    Large ships do not run on anything remotely resembling truck ‘diesel’

    They run on fuel or bunker oil. Which has the consistency and colour of treacle. And needs to be at 100C + in order to be injected into a Diesel engine.

    I don’t know how either gets de-sulphurized, but they do not compete for the same space..

    • The analysts quoted by The Economist are claiming the rule changes will push shippers into the same space as truckers and airlines.

      • How would the UN actually enforce such a rule? Perhaps the EU, Australia, and Canada might comply, but the odds of japan, China, or the US enforcing such a rule is very slight.

        • Europe would probably take the rule seriously, instant non-tariff barrier to countries which don’t comply. They could “fine” ships which don’t comply.

          • …which means lots of ships landing goods at non-EU ports close to the EU, and shipping the containers the last mile or so by rail….

      • Just about all of them. Except the small 100ll piston engines.

        It’s not called diesel, but chemically it’s virtually identical.

        • We had a tank of JP-5 become fouled and no longer suitible for jet fuel, so they down graded it and we used it a bunker fuel maine. Steam boilers don’t care as much about the fuel quality as long as it makes fire.

          (Too many years on an AOE)

        • Last time I checked, liners tank JET-A1, aka kerosene. A light and more energetic form of diesel fuel. Don’t put this in your car. It will burn hotter and is less lubricant to the pumps/injection. However….
          General aviation (derived from automotive) piston diesel engines do exist. Specifically tuned to run on kerosene.
          Why ? LL100, the preferred piston engine beverage, becomes an expensive and scarce commodity. While JET-A1 is universally available.

          • Funny how most of the crews turning airliners in Australia (including draining fuel sumps)
            own diesel cars.

          • You mean, there are other than electric vehicles in Australia ? Wasn’t Elon supposed to take care of business with mighty batteries down there ?

        • Only about 50% of crude oil goes into transportation their are numerous other benefits that mankind enjoy from crude oil processing, just look around you and see all the thing that we forget are products like plastics, tires, etc. Even our roads are mostly asphalt from crude oil.
          Without Synthetic rubber for tires WW 2 would have been difficult since Japan took over the rubber plantations, what an invention by our industry.
          The discussion mixes up lighter products with sulfur content. Virtually every refinery has implemented sulfur removal and conversion technology or they have gone out of business, in my 50 plus years in the business I have worked on implementing both technologies. Refining is a high Tech and highly competitive business and refineries that don’t compete SHUTDOWN With few exceptions where they have access to expensive low sulfur, light crude.

      • Retired_Engineer_Jim

        You got there before me.

        Although we did have a traffic spotting aeroplane that circled our area which sounded as if it ran on diesel. Haven’t heard it for a while now.

  15. Maybe Trump could start some Agency or other to investigate the use of ‘clean-coal’ for shipping.

    • Maybe it could put some fire under this project from 2006 …
      https://www.technologyreview.com/s/405676/clean-diesel-from-coal/

      Clean Diesel from Coal
      A novel catalytic method could let you fill up your tank with coal-derived diesel, cutting U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

      And they had a plant going in 2011 http://www.energyvortex.com/pages/headlinedetails.cfm?id=2064

      Nation’s First Waste-Coal-to-Diesel Plant Will Produce Cheaper, Cleaner Fuel
      Governor Edward G. Rendell stated Pennsylvania is taking a frontrunner position in addressing the country’s dependence on foreign oil by supporting the nation’s first-ever waste-coal-to- diesel plant and creating a fuel consortium that will purchase nearly all of the cheaper, cleaner diesel fuel that will be produced at the Schuylkill County facility. “Every day we see the necessity for a national policy to address America’s energy needs,” Governor Rendell said. “We only have to look at rising fuel prices to feel the impact. Working with the private sector, Pennsylvania is going to build its own energy and keep the money it now spends on foreign energy to make investments here.

      “Three years ago, I said we were going to do things differently in Pennsylvania. We were going to lead, not follow. Today we are delivering on that commitment with an innovative energy solution that will mean cleaner, cheaper diesel fuel, more than 1,600 jobs and the use of acres of waste coal that now threaten our environment,” the Governor added.

      “We are going to be part of changing how America produces its fuel. We are going to ensure Pennsylvania has a long-term supply of clean, secure and affordable energy. Not only will Pennsylvania be the first state to build such a plant, we also will be the first state to use its purchasing power to lead a consortium to purchase some 40 million gallons of this Pennsylvania produced fuel.”

  16. Sulphur from ships causes acid rain and air pollution, which contributes to between 212,000 and 595,000 premature deaths a year and 14m cases of childhood asthma,…

    lol squared.
    Presumably these premature deaths happen in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, or maybe the Pacific?
    The acid rain is entirely on the wallpaper in their heads.

    • michael hart

      They pulled this same scam with premature deaths in the UK caused by diesel emissions, 40,000 of them in 2016 I seem to remember.

      When the data was examined it was found the deaths were all attributed to another cause (bronchitis etc.) and that survival rated were subjectively assessed by doctors to be from hours to days longer were it not for diesel pollution.

      No causes of death were recorded as ‘death from diesel particulates’.

      • Yes, HotScot. There is an ongoing discussion thread at Bishop Hill blog on the Dr’s Against Diesel topic. (Andrew Montford doesn’t actually blog anymore since he took up a job at the GWPF, but regular readers still go there and comment)

        I regard it as just another of the general cases along the lines of “X causes Y economic losses/deaths annually in the UK. I’m confident that if someone added them all up, they would all amount to considerably more than the UK population or UK GDP. It’s always exaggeration by interested parties/activists.

  17. This regulation isn’t “proposed”. It was passed 2 years ago.

    It’s 14 months from implementation. Jan 1, 2020

    Shell has a forecast that fuel oil consumption will drop by ~3 million barrels / day at the end of next year. A diesel like fuel will replace it.

      • Donald Kasper

        Perhaps global governments could spunk trillions of dollars on eradicating Sulfide reducing bacteria along with all that poisonous CO2.

        Coming to a cinema near you soon folks.

  18. So how much of that particulate matter is getting to where all these children and other asthmatics are from out at sea. Really How about requiring the UN to travel by sailboat on water and bicycle on land for the same reasons.

        • I recall a news item recently about the prosecution of a ship owner/captain for sulfur emissions within EU port waters. It seems such things are already being enforced by some national governments in EU waters.

          What happens in the open ocean is another matter. The BBC still thinks they can get rid of international plastics in the oceans by banning it in mainland UK. Of course, that’s just not logical, Captain. But they do it anyway.

  19. Bring back the coal burners. That’ll really drive them nuts. Need a good consumer of high sulfer coal anyway.

  20. Law of unintended consequences. Right now trees are chopped down along Canada’s west coast, shipped to Chinese sawmills, and sent back as finished 2×4’s. YES!!! Ocean transport is so cheap that the round-trip costs less than the wage savings from cheap Chinese labour versus local labour.

    If ocean transport becomes more expensive, then it would be more likely that the finishing gets done locally. This applies to any raw material shipped to Chine, and finished product shipped back here. It would actually benefit the US and Canada in terms of jobs and local industry to boost the cost of ocean transport.

  21. These international regulations are enforced by each country that ratifies each treaty. When a merchant vessel arrives in port, an army of inspectors turns up, to inspect logs both hand and automatically produced. They inspect equipment, making sure it is at the correct revision level and working. The most recent treaty change that I am aware of is ‘ballast water management and the USA are the most strictest of inspectors…

  22. “Sulphur also helps to form and thicken clouds that reflect sunlight away from the Earth.”
    Only at low altitudes

    The sulfur in jet fuel has been increased, for high altitude flights to increase pressure. This creates stratospheric clouds which trap heat. NASA looked into this, but, anything that might throw doubt on CO2 being evil, gets no funding, and so NASA left it there.

  23. Permitted only transport and state controlled fuel attributions are well established communist traditions.
    Nothing new under the sun. Just ramping up on a worldwide scale.

  24. As someone wondered, How did the sulphur get into the fuel?

    The standard answer would be that it came from a time in Earth’s history when plant growth was particularly lush and luxuriant. A time when the plants grew so fast that the decomposition processes couldn’t keep up.

    Haha, just like we have now. 70% water. 10% barren dry desert (I would assert to be man-made), 10% frozen desert and 10% left to grow *everything*

    And as soon as anything does grow, we eat it, poison it, plough it or, The Most Hideous Crime Possible, we burn it. Safe in the knowledge imparted by out primary-school teacher that all plants need is CO2 and water and are simply begging and gagging to be eaten or burnt.

    Back on topic, is it impossible that sulphur had anything to do with the luxuriant growth of past times?
    Lets ask some Scandavian tree growers:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/sweden/1403483/British-acid-rain-helps-our-trees-says-Norway.html
    What was is the cost of using 10% of the electricity from a coal-powered station to clean its own flue, to dig holes in limestone quarries, to bury or otherwise ‘lose’ the resulting gypsum – even before you account for the cost of the lost tree production

    We might ask those amongst us with the biggest willies, NASA, about Global Greening. Is it really down to CO2.
    We might wonder why farmers of a century ago were really happy to have railway lines running across their fields. Surely those steam engines were a serious fire hazard to ripening cereal and hay crops. Were those farmers insane?
    We might ask modern farmers, especially in the UK and especially *especially* the growers of oil-seeds about the fertilisers they now need – fertilisers fortified at some expense, with sulphur.
    You cannot add sulphur to (agricultural grade) fertiliser without removing something already there, so what cost to farmers of buying more (of a more expensive) fertiliser?

    We might ask the parents of asthmatic children if the children were bottle or breast fed. We might ask about home hygiene – were the mothers obsessed about bugs and germs and smells, constantly drenching the home in perfumed soaps, cleaners, air-fresheners and laundry products.
    We might ask when the young children were introduced to the myriad irritants, allergens and flat-out poisons found in vegetables. Even before we get into the hormonal horror that is soya.

    Not that we need to ask the parents.
    Just look at the children as young adults. Are they short, fat, of low intelligence, easily bored & irritated, addicted to soda-pop and cell-phones? Tells us all we need to know.

    Is sulphur a vital ingredient that plants use to make important nutrients, Vitamin A by example.
    What about the B vitamins. Vital for nervous function, being aware that the tingling in your fingers coming from sugar and alcohol use are exactly the same sort of cells that compose your entire brain.
    Is a nutrient missing or is something there that shouldn’t be? Aluminium not least.

    If your fingers and toes are tingling, hot, cold, dead, overly sensitive, wtf is happening inside your head?

    I think we know the answer……..
    The GHGE and Climate Warming Global Weirding Change

  25. Sulphur from ships causes acid rain and air pollution, which contributes to between 212,000 and 595,000 premature deaths a year and 14m cases of childhood asthma, according to research published in Nature Communications in February.

    Premature deaths are unverifiable GIGO stats and claims about asthma are ridiculous.

    All five of the EPA’s “criteria pollutants” have been drastically reduced since 1980, yet asthma continues to rise:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/04/03/the-misuse-of-asthma-as-a-justifaction-for-epa-rules/
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/05/17/putting-the-clean-air-act-on-ice/

  26. EU did allready that suphur directive. In Finland all ships use lowsulphur fuel or CNG. All new ships have CNG using engines. To use gas to fuel ships is most brobable development in future. So it does make lot of jobs in shipyards all over the globe. I’ll think it boost economy lot more than expenses to change the fuel. If China sends ships over with wrong fuel, they’ll cant go in any harbour in developed contry. So think it again is it so bad?

  27. Yeah, let’s destroy the world economy ‘cuz Leftist hacks want to destroy capitalism through the CAGW hoax and any other means necessary…

    There is now overwhelming empirical evidence every single catastrophic Global Warming prediction is completely devoid from reality…

    Ironically, the larger and longer the disparities between CAGW projections vs. reality become, the worse future calamitous projections become, as does Leftists’ certainty that CAGW is an irrefutable fact that can’t even be debated…

    This isn’t sciecnce, it’s aggressively ignorant religious dogma.

  28. ‘The United Nations International Maritime Organisation is in the process of introducing new marine diesel standards which economists worry will have a serious negative impact on Climate Change and the US economy.’
    Before someone jumps down my throat let me say diesel engines fumes needs to be clean up. There is a “but“. I did not get a chance to vote on the representatives who came up with the rules nor is our U.N. representative a elected position. It would seem to the regulations would have to be ratified by the U.S. Congress as if it were a treaty.

    • Old construction worker,

      The garbage they currently burn on ships on the open ocean is far worse than diesel. When oil is refined about 10% of the original crude is left over as residue.

      I assume it is dense in the worst of what makes crude oil crude!

      That’s what bunker C is, or “residual fuel oil”.

      In sulfur terms:

      Diesel sold in the US for highway use: 15 PPM sulfur
      Current emission limit on the open ocean: 35,000 PPM sulfur
      New regulation: 5,000 PPM sulfur

      Personally, and ignoring political issues, I’d be happy to see 35,000 ppm sulfur fuel banned globally.

      Unfortunately there are still 3rd world countries that burn “residual fuel oil” to make electricity.

  29. I suspect that all these “Premature Death” papers and reports suffer from “Hockystickitus”.
    They seem to come up with the same conclusion:- “This nasty thing (whatever) will kill you; so something must be done”.

    We are all suckers for this sort of statistically manipulated pseudo science which makes it very dangerous. Rich pickings for those who wish to control.

  30. Someone please explain how that group of un-elected people have any power over anyone? They are not a government and have no power to legislate or regulate anyone.

  31. For those advising it won’t be enforced, that is very unlikely.

    And in this case they are also planning to enforce it the selling end. Ships won’t be allowed to buy fuel oil (bunker c) unless they have a multi-million dollar emission scrubber.

    And the UN IMO is talking about making a regulation to make it a finable offense if a ship is caught even carrying fuel oil, regardless of if the logs show it was burned or not.

    As to who enforces the fine, I believe it is the country where the ship is registered. So if China as an example wanted to ignore this regulation and openly allow fuel oil to be sold to ships registered to China, I’m sure they could, but that is really unlikely.

    For one thing, China is implementing their own ECA (emission control area) just like the US and EU have. China has been using LNG (liquid natural gas) as fuel on their inland waterways routinely for several years. LNG is the least polluting liquid fuel possible (CH4 + O2 => CO2 + H2O).

    I really don’t think cheating will happen on a large scale and neither does the shipping industry.

    • It is the country that determines a ship has failed an inspection that fines the ship, and detains the ship until the fine is paid.

      It is a daily occurrence for some shipping companies….

    • Since the above rule was passed 2 years ago, refineries around the world have been working to install upgrades that refine more of the crude oil and leave behind less residue.

      The expectation of Shell is the global market for residual fuel oil will drop from ~10% of the fuel market to about 6.5% as of Jan 1, 2020 (the day this regulation kicks in).

      Many billions have already been invested by owners of refineries globally to reduce the amount of residual fuel oil they produce. In the next few years, that will continue and there will simply be a lot less residual fuel oil created in a few years.

    • I understand from friends who have refinery experience that we are now developing large piles of sulfur.
      I expect someone will invent or discover a need for this additional material soon.

  32. “Big shipping companies will potentially make an enormous profit from this UN rule change, at the expense of their smaller competitors and the rest of the global economy. ”

    If this could be true, then we have to look at who is buying stock in these big shipping companies.

  33. Sulphur in fuel is itself a fuel component. Making sulphuruc acid from sulphur gives net power to phosphate fertilizer plants. So ships would also burn more ‘clean’ fuel.

  34. Some random comments;

    Most large ships (big marine diesel engines) run on Heavy Fuel Oil which can be described as the sludge left in the refinery after the other fuels have been extracted. It is thick black stuff and has to be heated to 50degC or more before it will flow and can be pumped.
    The ships will also carry a low sulphur fuel closer to what we would call diesel.
    Some countries have a rule that ships have to change to low sulphur fuel as they draw close – An example is the English Channel where ships have to switch fuel as they enter and burn “the clean stuff” close to land.

    LNG is used as a fuel when that is the cargo and the ship is using what boils of from the cargo tanks.

    I was talking to a yachting couple whose boat sank and they took to a liferaft. The ship that spotted them circled around them for a hour before picking them up. The reason was that like an old Fordson tractor that ran on petrol(gasoline) when cold then switched to paraffin(kerosene) when warmed up, they had to switch from heavy fuel oil to diesel (Manoevering Oil) if they were to be able to re-start the engine after stopping.

    There are satellite photos around showing the clouds forming in a ship’s wake after being “seeded” by the SO2 from the ship exhausts.

  35. Most of the acid rain produced by the high-sulfur fuel oil goes right into the ocean. Same for the particulates.
    As pointed out above, many ports already require ships to switch to low-sulfur fuel before approaching the harbor. California already has ports where the ships turn off their engines and plug into the electrical system at the dock. there are advantages to switching to lower sulfur fuel or natural gas. NG is cheaper per BTU than fuel oil, but storage is more expensive. Engine maintenance goes down as well.

  36. I do not remember the world’s governments giving the United Nations the power to make laws, rules, or regulations that are enforceable on the individual nations and their shipping fleets.

    Can anyone enlighten me here?

  37. Can’t image any Russian, Chinese or vessels registered in tin pot countries like Panama taking any notice of this. The idiots in the UK, of course, will jump and ask ‘how high’ but as hardly any vessels are registered in the UK any more, it won’t make any difference.

    • All countries on the ‘White List’ will enforce these rules against all vessels entering their ports. There are many international treaties (as shipping is inherently international) covering every aspect ship operations.

      “Requirements for the consumption of low sulphur fuels in Emission Control Areas (ECA) are not uncommon.
      Under MARPOL Annex VI the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) can establish ECAs where vessels have to comply with mandatory measures for the control and reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx). There are currently four ECAs, comprising the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, North America and the United States Caribbean Sea areas[1]. From 1 January 2015, vessels have been required to consume fuel with less than 0.1% sulphur content while operating in these ECAs (unless the vessel is fitted with equipment such as scrubbers to reduce the sulphur in exhaust fumes, or is operating on alternative fuel such as LNG, or has a dispensation conferred by Reg. 14.4.4).”

      Any vessel arriving in a port in an ECA HAS TO provide evidence of compliance. Including vessels registered in your tin pot countries.

      Ships are routinely ‘arrested’ for non compliance with an of these treaties. Masters and Chief engineers are routinely fined.

      Shipping companies employ specialist companies to enforce compliance with these regulations to minimize the occurrence of fines or worse: holding up a ship for a day or two, which is very expensive.

      Have a look at this ‘quick’ check list from the American Bureau of Shipping – it is a guide on how to reduce your likelihood of being detained in port due to an infringement. Its only 44 pages long…..

      https://ww2.eagle.org/content/dam/eagle/rules-and-resources/Flag-and-Port-State-Information/Quick-Reference-Guidance-for-Reducing-Port-State-Detentions

      • I believe 0.5% sulfur is 5000 ppm. Correct?
        Ultra low sulfur diesel is 15 ppm. Is this too strict?

  38. And when will the UN be banning the dimethyl sulfide emissions from the oceans? I think the amount of sulphur emitted by all those algae is supposed to be roughly equivalent to the sulphur emissions of all of mankinds activities combined.

    • Or the sulfur emissions of volcanoes? Mt. Pinatubo by itself put more sulfuric acid into the atmosphere in 1991 than human beings had done ever. This is pretty crazy, though the cost effectiveness people would argue that at $2 million per life saved, this makes perfect sense.

  39. I am skeptical of the US 3% GDP loss claim.

    By definition GDP is C + I + G + E(net).

    C is consumption, I is investment and G is government spending, all irrelevant to this discussion.

    That leaves E, or net Exports. We run an annual trade deficit of $800 billion. That is all lopped off GDP.

    Trade with Canada and Mexico is predominantly over land. We run substantial trade deficits with most everybody else.

    For us to lose 3% GDP ($600 billion) our shipped exports would have to drop to near zero while our shipped imports (well over $1 trillion) would have to remain unchanged.

    If worldwide shipping evenly falls x per cent, our GDP will rise, not fall.

  40. I wonder whether this rule will apply to the Navies of the world?
    It is one thing to impact the cost of the freight hauling shippers, but quite another to impact the costs and operations of the Navies and Coast Guards.

  41. This will be like a tariff on imported goods from everywhere overseas and on exported goods from the US

  42. Did they calculate how many lives would be prematurely lost due to the 1.5% reduction in the world’s economy? My guess is that number would be vastly larger than the one due to the avoided particulates. If I am right, then you should not enact the fuel change if the number of premature deaths is what you are worried about.

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