Page 14 - European Energy Innovation - Autumn 2016 publication
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14  Autumn 2016 European Energy Innovation


European ports are thinking

By Isabelle Ryckbost (pictured)

The climate is changing. If             public and economic responsibilities.       further. Since energy is an important
            we want to limit global     They need to secure their “licence”, they   commodity for many ports, climate
            warming to well below       must ensure towards the people living       change - and the fight against climate
            2°C, everyone will have to  around the port and society as a whole      change - could become a game
contribute, also ports.                 that their operations and investments       stopper. Ports realise that anticipating
                                        are sustainable. They cannot just wait      on this proactively, can allow ports to
The COP21 UN climate talks in Paris     and see. The recent fact finding survey     turn the path towards decarbonisation
in December failed in achieving an      which ESPO has been running in the          into a successful business case.
agreement on an emission reduction      framework of the EU funded Portopia
target for international shipping.      project shows some interesting figures      But working on mitigation will often
Unfortunately. Shipping being a global  in that respect.                            not be sufficient. Even if it is “all
industry, this international Climate                                                hands on deck” to limit the warming
Summit would have been the right        Overall, 78% of European port               of our planet, experts are telling us
place and time to engage the shipping   authorities consider it as an objective to  that we will not be able to avoid all
industry towards a carbon low future.   ensure that port activity is sustainable    negative consequences of climate
                                        in the long run. Looking at energy, the     change completely. Adapting the
But what about ports? Should they wait  survey shows that 25% of ports have         port infrastructure to the effects of the
for what will happen with the shipping  more than half of their traffic linked to   warming will be a must for every port.
sector?                                 energy commodities. It also reveals that    Ports are literally on the first row when
                                        38% of port authorities are facilitators    sea levels are rising and when extreme
Ports are not only accommodating                                                    weather conditions lead to strong
ships. Ports are energy nodes and       of renewable energy production in the       winds, storms and extreme waves.
clusters of industry. Moreover, port    port. 16% of port authorities are even
authorities in Europe assume both       investing or co-investing in renewable      So standing on the side-lines is simply
                                        energy production. Moreover, ports          not an option for European ports.
                                        expect that jobs related to renewable
                                        energy will grow considerably in            That is why ESPO decided last
                                        the next five years. Finally, energy        December to join the PIANC-led
                                        consumption has become second               Think Climate Coalition. Think
                                        in the ESPO top 10 ranking of               Climate brings together major
                                        environmental priorities of European        international associations with
                                        ports that was published this spring.       interests in waterborne transport
                                                                                    infrastructure, in order to help the
                                        It is without saying that tackling climate  sector respond to climate change.
                                        change is of paramount importance           By further understanding, providing
                                        for ports. Reducing greenhouse gas          targeted technical support and
                                        emissions and developing a low carbon       building capacity, the coalition has
                                        strategy is on top of their agenda.         a double aim: first of all, to promote
                                        This strategy is in the first place aimed   the reduction of greenhouse gas
                                        at limiting the energy consumption          emissions, by shifting to low carbon
                                        linked to the transport and industrial      maritime and inland waterway transport
                                        activities in the port. But given the       infrastructure, secondly, address ways
                                        fact that ports play a crucial role in the  to adapt maritime and waterborne
                                        energy landscape, this strategy can go      infrastructure and operations to the

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