A Tale of Two Ports - The Role of Shipping in Mitigating Climate Change

Primary tabs

A Tale of Two Ports - The Role of Shipping in Mitigating Climate Change

tweet me:
A Tale of Two Ports: @CSRHUB weighs in on WA's dirty coal shipping controversy; what it means for climate change, #CSR http://bit.ly/hAh5m5

Summary

The Port of Seattle has worked hard to shrink its carbon footprint, implementing energy saving measures and programs to encourage environmentally friendly practices by visiting ships. But just down the Washington coast, a port in Longview has proposed a plan that would make it the export hub of dirty coal bound for China. What does this mean for our global environment and what kind of precedent would it set for future pollution exporters?

Monday, December 20, 2010 - 9:15am

CONTENT: Blog

By Carol Pierson Holding 

The Port of Seattle’s CEO, Tay Yoshitani wants to run the greenest port in the country. Now that companies like Walmart and Costco are measuring the carbon footprint of their products as competitive differentiation, energy used by ship transport becomes an issue, including energy used at port stops. Yoshitani believes that the environment is a competitive issue, an ethical and economic opportunity.  And 70% of cargo that goes through the Port is discretionary. It could go through another west coast port on its way to its final eastern destination.

Yoshitani’s team is working hard on his mandate. Installing the first self-powered Electric Rail Mounting Gantry Cranes to move cargo containers onto rail cars. Centralized air plant for grounded planes at SeaTac, lowering emissions and saving airlines $400,000 each year. Financial incentives and a “Green Gateway” flag for ships that use lower sulpher fuel at berth, which saves Elliott Bay in Puget Sound, and keeps the neighboring residents happy.

And yet all of these wins for Seattle’s environment might be wiped out by a decision that’s winding its way through the courts now which would make a port in Longview, 128 miles south of Seattle, the highest polluter on the West Coast.  As reported by Climate Solutions, an Australia-based coal company is opening the door to make Washington the coal-export hub of the Pacific rim.  The plan is to send low-grade coal mined in Wyoming and Montana — a grade outlawed in the US because is so toxic —  on trains through the Columbia River Gorge through a port in Longview, to be burned in China. And other coal companies are already lining up with their own proposals. 

Why should Washington care about coal burned in China?  Continue reading.

 

Carol Pierson Holding is a writer and an environmentalist; her articles on CSR can be found on her website at  http://www.holding.com/Index%20links/articles.html.

CSRHUB is an online corporate social responsibility ratings database, which gives consumers access to more than 90 sources of CSR information. The largest contribution of data comes from aggregating five of the eight leading SRI research firms. The CSRHUB database also aggregates information from publishers, NGOs, and three government agencies. Using a proprietary system for mapping and normalizing this broad range of information, CSRHUB provides consistent ratings on over 5,000 companies in North America, Europe and Asia. Explore CSRHUB's ratings at www.csrhub.com.

CSRH10896

Contact

Cynthia Figge
CSRHUB, LLC
http://www.csrhub.com
Keywords: CSRHUB | China | Corporate Social Responsibility | Global Warming | Port of Longview | Port of Seattle | Seattle | climate change | coal | shipping

CONTENT: Blog