Friday, November 14, 2014

POSD Sees Significant Air Emission Reductions

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of San Diego says it has seen significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants produced by its maritime operations, due in part to the efforts of its Green Port program, which aims to reduce environmental impacts of business operations and improve the health of the San Diego Bay.

The progress in reducing air emissions is described in a report released in early November. According to the report, greenhouse gas emissions from non-military ocean-going vessels, harbor craft, locomotives, on-road vehicles and cargo handling equipment were reduced by 42 percent in 2012 compared to the baseline year of 2006.

Additionally, other harmful air pollutants were also significantly reduced, including: nitrogen oxides by 50 percent; diesel particulate matter by 75 percent; and sulfur dioxide by 94 percent, according to the document.

After the baseline measurements were taken in 2006, the port put into place emissions control strategies to reduce the largest sources of emissions from its maritime operations. In 2009, a vessel speed reduction program was developed and in 2010, a clean truck program was implemented. Additionally, shore power was installed at the port’s cruise ship terminal in 2010 to reduce emissions from berthed cruise ships.

“By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, we have a positive impact on climate change while also improving air quality for local communities,” Port Commission Chair Bob Nelson said. “This environmental monitoring shows that our strategies have been effective as we strive for ‘green’ maritime operations.”

Overall, maritime activities are cleaner than they used to be, according to data in the report. For example, the report states, ocean-going vessels in the San Diego Bay produced fewer emissions on a per-vessel basis in 2012 than in 2006. The port continues to implement emission reduction strategies: in early 2014, a shore power system began operating at the port’s cargo facility, the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, thereby reducing emissions from berthed cargo ships.

Also, in 2013, the port adopted a Climate Action Plan that provides a long-term strategic vision for the Green Port Program, and calls for 10 percent reductions of all greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 25 percent by 2035 compared to 2006 numbers.

The port’s next maritime emissions inventory is scheduled to be conducted in 2018.