March ended with the introduction of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (registration required) by representatives Edward Markey and Henry Waxman, as outlined in this recent article on Green Logistics in Logistics Management.
The act, which currently calls for:
- a reduction of emissions by 20% below 2005 levels by 2020,
- a low-carbon transportation fuel standard,
- a focus on transportation efficiency that would order the EPA to set emission standards for locomotives and marine vessels, and
- authorization of the EPA to carry out the SmartWay Transportation Efficiency Program to increase the efficiency of highway transportation
would go a long way to tackling the significant amount of climate change emissions which is a direct result of global shipping.
After all, as I pointed out in What’s Worse? The Personal Automobile or 15 Container Ships, a single giant container ship can emit the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50 Million cars in the course of a year. And while some will try and argue that it’s not fair to compare a container ship against an automobile, and have a valid point as they are in two separate vehicle categories, I’d like to point out that I don’t think it’s fair that our cars are regulated to the point where the air exiting our vehicle (after going through mandatory catalytic converters) is cleaner than the air entering our vehicles in a big city like Los Angels while there are no regulations (at all) on container ships that collectively spew 6,000 times the emissions of every single automobile on the planet. That’s right … the ocean shipping industry alone is 6,000 times as damaging as the personal automobile industry. (That’s right … you could drive that Hummer till you drop and still not make a noticeable contribution to global warming relative to the shipping industry.)
And I’m getting fed up of business and media and environmental action groups trying to blame the consumer when all the studies I’m reading on energy waste and pollution clearly demonstrate that big industry, often completely unregulated, is 10 times, 100 times, and sometimes 1000 times, as damaging as the common man who, in this day of age, is starting to realize that there’s a more important green than the money in our wallets.
I’m not saying I’m not willing to do my part, or that we shouldn’t do everything we can to be green, but that it’s time we insist that big industry be held accountable for their actions as well. It’s only fair that everyone takes equal responsibility.