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Are 'green' cruise ships good for the climate?

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on the BBC or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The world’s largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, launched by Royal Caribbean, is powered by liquified natural gas (LNG), touted as the cleanest marine fuel
• However, environmental campaigners argue that LNG is still harmful due to methane leaks, contributing significantly to climate change

🔭 The context: The cruise industry is booming, with ticket sales hitting an all-time high in 2024, leading to increased air and ocean pollution
• While cruise companies are promoting their green credentials, the sector remains highly carbon-intensive, with large ships consuming up to 80,645 gallons of marine fuel per day

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Cruise ships emit more CO2 per passenger than air travel, and their use of fossil fuels has severe environmental impacts
• The industry's shift to LNG is controversial, as it still contributes to methane emissions
• A sustainable future requires transitioning to truly green fuels like hydrogen, methanol, or ammonia

⏭️ What's next: Port cities like Venice are restricting cruise ships due to environmental concerns
• Companies are exploring various green technologies, including methanol and battery power, but challenges remain in scaling these solutions
• The industry needs significant investment in sustainable fuel alternatives to achieve its decarbonization goals

💬 One quote: "To have a green cruise implies a change of fuel, which is very difficult." – Constance Dijkstra, Transport & Environment

📈 One stat: The Icon of the Seas, the largest cruise ship, cost Royal Caribbean $2 billion to build and measures 365 meters in length

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