Clean shipping advocates to Carnival: climate leadership? Prove it.

Clean shipping advocates to Carnival: climate leadership? Prove it.

Thursday December 19, 2019

Cruise giant Carnival Corp. joined the Getting to Zero Coalition, but its greenhouse gas intensive investments don’t line up

SAN FRANCISCO  Members of the Clean Up Carnival coalition tentatively applaud cruise industry major Carnival Corporation for joining the Getting to Zero Coalition, but question its commitment given the company’s multimillion dollar investments in the continued long-term use of fossil fuels. The recently launched shipping coalition aims to have commercially viable, deep-sea, zero-emissions vessels in operation by 2030. Zero-emission maritime shipping is technically feasible, but significant investment needs to be made today to bring new ships online in time to reduce the sector’s significant contribution to climate change.  

The Clean Up Carnival coalition is calling on Carnival to demonstrate its commitment to climate leadership by ending all further investments in fossil fuel-powered ships, including methane-intensive LNG ships. Carnival currently has hundreds of millions of dollars committed to building new cruise ships powered by LNG, an intensive greenhouse gas. The company also has a dubious environmental track record, with 13 felony convictions since 2002 and significant investments in emissions cheat scrubber systems to get around more stringent air pollution standards. 

“Carnival Corporation has been steering its global fleet and investment dollars towards false solutions that imperil the oceans, the climate, and public health. We certainly hope that by joining the Getting to Zero coalition, it is committing to turning its Titanic climate shipwreck around. If Carnival wants to be seen as a climate leader, it needs to put its money where its mouth is and end its climate-disrupting LNG program,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner for Stand.earth.

According to the Getting to Zero Coalition’s ambition statement, “Achieving the 2050 target requires immediate action. Ships can be operated for 20 years or more, which means that the ships entering the world fleet around 2030 can be expected to be operational in 2050. Similarly, infrastructure associated with fuel supply chains can have a long economic life of up to 50 years, and reconfiguration to new fuels can be a lengthy process. As a consequence, there is a need to have technically feasible, commercially viable, and safe zero emission deep sea vessels entering the global fleet by 2030, as well as a clear path to provide the large amounts of zero carbon energy sources needed to allow the rapid uptake of ZEVs in the following decades.”

It is also quite clear that all six GHGs including methane and upstream emissions are implicitly included in the phrase “zero carbon emissions fuels.”

“The climate crisis requires that we get off fossil fuels, and fast,” said Alex Levinson, Executive Director of Pacific Environment. “You can’t get off fossil fuels by creating a whole new LNG infrastructure for ships. That’s greenwashing, plain and simple.”

“Carnival’s decision to invest in LNG-powered ships does nothing to further a low- or zero-emissions future. It puts the corporation on a dead-end course, wasting billions of dollars in the process. Carnival and the entire cruise industry should focus on substantive changes, like fuels made with renewable electricity, that will move the industry towards a zero-emissions future,” said John Kaltenstein, Deputy Director for Friends of the Earth U.S.

Carnival Corporation has an abysmal track record on environmental compliance, including 13 federal felony convictions in the U.S. since 2002 stemming from intentional illegal dumping of oily waste and efforts to conceal it. The criminal rap sheets of the company’s subsidiary brands stretch back to the early 1990s, when the U.S. Department of Justice first began its program of prosecuting illegal discharges from oceangoing vessels. The Court Appointed Monitor (CAM) overseeing Carnival’s current probation for its seven felony convictions in 2016 found that its ships have continued to violate national U.S. environmental laws and contravene international pollution prevention treaties, failed to properly train staff to ensure regulatory compliance, attempted to cover up their violations through falsification of documents, and tried to use back channels to influence federal regulators. 

The Clean Up Carnival Coalition is an alliance of international nonprofit civil society organizations pressing Carnival to clean up its environmental and human health harming practices and commit to public transparency, accountability and reporting. 

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Media contacts:

Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner, Stand.earth, +1 360 255 3555 (PST), kendra@stand.earth

David Walsh, +34 691826764 (CET), dave@coldreality.org