What's happening in China



China not keen on meeting panicky CO2 targets while US classification society reconsiders nuclear power

Every dire prediction of the climate lobby has come to naught over the last 40 years, and the only government to realise that is China's.

Even eco lobby Greenpeace thinks bio fuels will do more harm than good and now the US classification society, the American Bureau of Shipping, wants us to look at nukes - Russian nuclear propulsion no less.

For all its faults, and Beijing has many, it has not surrendered to the Chicken Little "sky is falling" hysteria of the world's climate alarmists.

Instead, China is calling a halt to the craziness by rallying the third world to oppose the ever ascending greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set by the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

At a meeting of the IMO's Maritime Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC80) in July, delegates agreed on setting an ever more ambitious CO2 reduction target.

London shipbroker Gibson said the committee's biggest outcome was agreeing upon more ambitious environmental targets. "The initial GHG Strategy was adopted in 2018 and it envisaged a reduction in CO2 emissions of international shipping of at least 40 per cent by 2030, and pursuing efforts towards 70 per cent by 2050, compared to 2008," said Gibson.

"The same strategy called for total annual GHG emissions to be reduced by at least 50 per cent by 2050 compared to the 2008 baseline. In recent years, however, there has been growing pressure from various industry stakeholders to strengthen these environmental targets to align them more closely with the Paris agreement.

But it s important to note, reports Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide, that reaching consensus among all member states, is proving to be difficult because some like China and its allies are exerting significant pressure to delay decisions, or reduce the targets set, citing high costs. Overcoming these problems is difficult, without compromises being made.

And this brewing up into a fight with France rallying 22 allies to support a shipping emissions tax. Then London's Financial Times reported that China distributed a  diplomatic note  to developing countries, urging them to oppose a levy on shipping emissions and stronger targets for decarbonation, arguing that these goals are  unrealistic  with  significant  financial costs. Brazil, Argentina and South Africa also opposed a levy on shipping emissions .

 Such deep divisions in opinion between member states are perhaps the main reason behind the IMO decision for the impact assessment of these economic mechanisms to be finalised by 2024 at MEPC 82 before adoption in 2025.
Any economic measure will help to accelerate industry s effort to reduce shipping s carbon footprint, yet some are arguably more effective but costlier than others. It remains to be seen what measure will win in the end, but what is clear is that it will be challenging to reach a consensus,  Gibson concluded.

Curiously, Greenpeace is against biofuel. "If the government s plans come to fruition, our future could go up in flames. Unless we change course, a new law will require domestic fuel suppliers to add a percentage of biofuel to petrol and diesel," said the Greenpeace website.

"Mandating biofuels might sound like great news. It sounds like government is doing something to reduce New Zealand s dependence on fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions. But sadly not: just because something has  bio  in its name, doesn t mean it s green.

"The  sustainable biofuels mandate  is not green. However well intentioned, the mandate will worsen climate impacts and further increase our food and fuel costs," it said.

Greenpeace explained that liquid biofuels are fuels produced from plant or algae material, or animal waste like tallow from meat processing. Countries like New Zealand simply don't have enough sustainable sources to make the quantities of biofuel needed each year to satisfy the mandate.

"The proposed idea of using pine forest waste for biofuel is a mirage: it is new technology that would be hugely expensive to use, and there are no plants presently operating here, or anywhere in the world," said the article.

While Greenpeace comes up with no alternative, no suggested course of action, it knows what it doesn't like.

This situation seems to welcome reconsideration of what some call the "unforgiving energy" - nuclear power - which is now favoured by the US classification society, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

The ABS has recently conducted a study on nuclear powered containerships and tankers and favours the Russian propulsion system over its American rival, for the box ship, reports London's energyportal.eu. Both reactor technologies allow the fuel core to last for 25 years, which aligns with the typical lifespan of a merchant ship.

ABS chairman and CEO, Christopher Wiernicki said Russia stands as the only country operating a nuclear-powered cargo ship today.

For a theoretical 14,000-TEU postpanamax, the research team selected a Russian designed twin-reactor, lead-cooled, 30MW fast reactor design with a total installed power of 60MW (80,000 horsepower).

"The Soviet Navy utilised a lead-bismuth cooled fast reactor in their ultra-fast Alfa-class attack submarines, which could reach speeds of over 40 knots underwater," said the report.

Its configuration would increase the ship s cargo capacity and operating speed, said the report. Nuclear propulsion, ABS said, can contribute to a net-zero CO2 world.

Key advantages of the Russian reactor include its compactness and inherent safety, with no need for a pressure vessel and the coolant solidifying in the event of a leak or shutdown, said ABS.

This concept has gained renewed attention for its carbon-free profile, making it appealing for civilian applications. ABS collaborated with Hebert Engineering Corp (HEC) under a contract from the US Department of Energy to model the implementation of nuclear propulsion for two common vessel classes.

They were to look at nuclear propulsion systems for the containership and a theoretical 157,000-dwt Suezmax tanker.

For the tanker, the team studied the installation of a different power configuration   four 5MW heat-pipe microreactors, providing a total installed power of 20MW (27,000 horsepower). This installation would increase the tanker s speed but reduce its cargo capacity.

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Does China have reason to say we are going too far too fast on decarbonisation? When Greenpeace condemns bio fuels, is it time to go nuclear?

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China Trade Specialists