Project Details The role of mega ports in climate change

Project No.: 
2021-026-3-600
Start Date: 
09 February 2022
End Date: 

Objective

Climate change that is the result of human activities, primarily burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns leading to sea level rise, increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events and precipitation changes. Projected climate change, potential impacts and associated risks strengthen the global response in the context of sustainable development.

Seaports are also one of the main drivers of pressure on the environment across the world. Major ports in the global port sector are required to comply with a wide range of legislation and regulation in their efforts to control the impacts of their environmental aspects (i.e., activities, products and services). Large ports often have major, chemical industry sites established within their boundaries or in close-proximity. Similarly, many smaller operators have processes involving the handling, processing and storage of chemicals that should also be fundamental components of the combined Safety, Health, Environment and Security (SHES) approach of the Port Authority. Ports recognize their role as coordinating agencies and the chemical community of the integrated port/city/hinterland complex would benefit from a focused, yet generic list of chemical EPIs along with practicable, time and cost-effective monitoring programs.

Main tasks of the project are to:
• The state-of-the-art critical review of the current knowledge and understanding of port activities and operations that produce greenhouse emissions.
• The overview of the environmental port management procedures to handle the climate change issue and the options for the greenhouse gases mitigation.
• The identification, selection and monitoring of significant chemistry-based EPIs directly linked to the Top-10 priority issues for ports.
• The collaborative approach between port, city and the stakeholders involved.
• Examples of good practice from European ports.

Description

The port authorities are under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they are taking all necessary steps and maintaining a precautionary approach to control the impacts of their environmental aspects. The Authority may also be expected to take into account specific environmental issues considered to be of international, national or regional significance. Responses to these liabilities requires identification of relevant Environmental Performance Indicators (EPIs). It may reasonably be argued that specific guidance and advice on the chemistry involved in monitoring and mitigation would indeed be a timely and widely-welcomed contribution to the sector’s endeavors to deliver sustainability of this critically important global complex.

Through the development of its own internationally recognized EMS EcoPorts PERS, the sector has demonstrated its willingness to comply on the basis of voluntary, self-regulation but recognizes that it needs specialist advice and guidance on the most relevant EPIs necessary to establish environmental base-line and benchmark performance, and to form the basis of monitoring and reporting protocols. It would be to the mutual interest of all, ports, their tenants and operators, including the environment itself, if the most significant and relevant chemistry-based EPIs were to be identified along with monitoring regimes and interpretation guidelines for effective control and mitigation. With the exception of noise, chemistry-based EPIs are inherently relevant to the top-10 priority issues for ports handling 50-100 million tons of cargo annually, and yet arguably, they are amongst the least well-known or recognized from the plethora of potential indicators.Port Authorities have definite liabilities and responsibilities for Environmental Management, and they are active members of, and contributors to, the World Port Sustainability Program.

The various award winners demonstrate good environmental practice. However, this research proposal stresses the fact that detail of specific, chemistry-base EPIs and guidance on monitoring, interpretation and reporting for all stakeholders involved would make a significant contribution to the objective of sustainable development of the sector.

Main tasks of the project are to:
• The state-of-the-art critical review of the current knowledge and understanding of port activities and operations that produce greenhouse emissions.
• The overview of the environmental port management procedures to handle the climate change issue and the options for the greenhouse gases mitigation.
• The identification, selection and monitoring of significant chemistry-based EPIs directly linked to the Top-10 priority issues for ports.
• The collaborative approach between port, city and the stakeholders involved.
• Examples of good practice from European ports.

Progress

Page last updated 9 Feb 2022