The climate implications of using LNG as a marine fuel

Tuesday January 28, 2020

This shocking new report comes as the shipping sector grapples with its enormous climate footprint, and more ship operators are turning to LNG as a purported climate solution. 

LNG is being hailed as a climate solution by many in the shipping industry. But a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has found that the most popular Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) ship engine, particularly for cruise ships, emits between 70% and 82% more life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the short-term compared to clean distillate fuels.

Read the press release: Report: LNG as marine fuel is worse than business as usual for the climate

The ICCT report examines the lifecycle GHG emissions from marine fuels, including a previously poorly understood source of climate emissions from LNG-powered ships — the unintentional releases of the climate super-pollutant methane from ship engines, known as methane slip. The authors found that using LNG could actually worsen the shipping industry’s climate impacts compared to marine gas oil (MGO) when considering the amount of heat these emissions will trap over a 20-year period.