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Global

Inbox Scientists propose sea change for emissions Satellite data programmes could significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping sector – despite the absence of a globally agreed agenda for the sector. Satellite-based advanced information systems will allow for more accurate monitoring of fuel consumption in ships, prompting crews to use measures such as slow steaming – running the ship at a slower speed – to reduce fuel consumption, according to a report by scientists at the University of Manchester. The contribution of cars and power stations to global emissions is well known, however, little has been done so far to set proper targets to reduce emissions from the shipping sector. Yet a cargo ship currently emits the same amount of nitrogen oxide as seven million cars – while nitrogen oxide is a greenhouse gas less notorious than CO2, it is, nevertheless, a leading cause of asthma and other respiratory problems. Cargo ships are thought to be on track to be the largest global source of nitrogen emissions by 2020. But a new report by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, led by the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at Manchester University, suggests several areas for improvement, including the employment of satellites in bettering existing emission estimates. Dr Alice Bows-Larkin, lead researcher on the High Seas Project report, said: “What was most striking when doing this research, particularly when compared with previous studies on decarbonising other sectors like aviation, is the wealth of opportunities available for reducing CO2 from shipping. “The problem with cutting CO2 in the shipping sector is that the system is so complex that influencing change becomes the greatest challenge, even if the political will were there.” The report proposes a radical rethink of the shipping system in order for the maritime world to make a fair contribution to avoiding the 2°C of warming associated with dangerous climate change. Another suggested area for attention is the movement towards cutting the sulphur content of fuels. The report’s authors believe that too strong a focus on sulphur may inadvertently raise levels of CO2 by ignoring other emissions generated by low-sulphur fuel . The High Seas Project report points to wind-assisted propulsion, in conjunction with other technologies, as an option that offers scope for addressing both CO2 and sulphur emissions. The shipping industry has come under fire in the past for falling behind in the global fight against emissions. Emission reduction targets are generally agreed between nations – however, shipping emissions fall under the jurisdiction of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as the majority of sea travel occurs outside of national borders. Despite recognition by the IMO that shipping emissions were a growing problem as far back as 2008, action to resolve these issues has been slow. Attacks prompt Amazonian tribe to make first contact A previously uncontacted Amazonian tribe has emerged from the rainforest for the first time, footage released by Brazil’s National Indian Foundation reveals. Naked aside from loin straps and face paint, three men from the indigenous community crossed the Envira River to the village of Simpatia in Brazil, seeking assistance after having suffered attacks on their village in the Peruvian rainforest. According to Zé Correia, a member of the native Brazilian Ashaninka tribe who served as an interpreter, the tribesmen asked for weapons and support after revealing the deadly attacks. “The majority of old people were massacred,” Correia told Terra magazine. “They say that so many people died that they couldn’t bury them all and their corpses were eaten by vultures.” The men returned to the forest following their initial visit and were found to be suffering from a flu-like disease, prompting emergency action from the Brazilian government. A specialist medical team from Funai, the Brazilian government’s indigenous people’s authority, was quickly tasked with quarantining and treating the men, who have since recovered. Now, following the initial excitement of interacting with the tribe, the focus has shifted to ensuring that the group is kept safe and free from disease – lack of immunity to common diseases that originated in Europe has killed many indigenous people in the Americas in the past. Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, said a key problem with ensuring the protection of the tribe was a lack of funding. “It’s vital that Brazil and Peru immediately release funds for the full protection of uncontacted Indians’ lives and lands,” Corry said. “The economic growth of those countries is coming at the price of the lives of their indigenous citizens. Their newfound wealth must be used to protect those few uncontacted tribes that have so far survived the ongoing genocide of America’s first people.” Shipping has been left behind in the battle against climate change, despite being a major contributor of CO2 www.global global four th quar ter 2014 -br ief ing.org l 5


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