Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam, coal-fired power plants
U.S. port emissions are on pace to increase more than 25 percent, with methane emissions likely to rocket more than 250 percent from 2013, according to a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Methane emissions are a “clear example of the new normal,” Michael Brune, an EPA research director for the agency said in a statement.
“Port-related facilities are on pace to increase their methane emissions 25 percent by the year 2030 compared to 2013 levels, and the EPA’s most recent analysis of port emissions confirms that port emissions are poised to grow further,” he said. [Emphasis added]
The new report, from the agency’s Port and Waterway Operations Program, details the extent of the increase in port and cruise ship pollution. It was released as the United Nations Conference on Climate Change gathered last week in New Delhi, India, to review the need for climate change action to address issues related to extreme weather and rising seas, which have contributed to the spread of the virus.
The new report is based on data through the agency’s Port Sector Analysis (PSA) and Port Efficiency Program (PEP) and includes ports with more than five terminals and more than a million vessels.
According to the data, the total volume of CO2 emissions from U.S. ports in 2020 is projected to increase by 7.5 percent, even more than the nation’s transportation sector, the agency said.
“I think this new report shows that we are on track to have a significant increase in methane pollution,” Brune said.
He said the EPA has asked all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to review the agency’s data.
“EPA has found that methane emissions are likely to increase as much as 250 percent, the vast majority of the increase (66%) is