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Latest Science

Simon Bullock, James Mason & Alice Larkin (2021) reveal in their recent publication "The urgent case for stronger climate targets for international shipping, in Climate Policy, that if the shipping sector is to play a part in meeting the Paris Agreement Goals, the IMO must strengthen its targets.

Excerpts from the abstract : The article re-assesses the international shipping sector’s initial greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets against the Paris Agreement goals. The analysis is based upon the latest data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) and uses the concept of carbon budgets to evaluate proportionate 1.5°C emissions pathways for the sector. The consequences of the resulting Paris-compliant pathways for shipping’s existing mitigation targets and strategy are discussed. The article concludes that significantly stronger short- and longer-term targets need to be set for the sector to be compatible with the Paris Agreement’s goals: 34% reductions on 2008 emissions levels by 2030, and zero emissions before 2050, compared with the sector’s existing target of a 50% cut in CO2 by 2050. Crucially, strengthening the target by the IMO’s strategy revision date of 2023 is imperative. The long asset lifetimes of ships and shipping infrastructure limit the speed of transition such that a delay of even a few years will dictate an untenable rate of decarbonization and increased risk of pushing the already challenging Paris goals out of here.

The planet lost about 14% of its coral reefs between 2009 and 2018, a startling figure that reflects the dire threats to the iconic creatures as climate change continues to ravage sensitive ecosystems around the globe.

new report, released Monday by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, found mass coral bleaching events linked to warmer temperatures remained the greatest threat to sensitive reefs. The study is the largest analysis of global coral reef health ever done, and includes observations along reefs in more than 70 countries over the last 40 years.

Nick Visser of the Huff Post reports on this serious issue.

Pathways to Sustainable Shipping

The American Bureau of Shipping developed the second in a series of "Outlook" documents — the first was published in June 2019 — to reference available carbon-reduction strategies and inform the shipping industry as it enters the uncharted waters of the 2030/2050 emissions challenge. This document examines how the development of global trade will impact global emissions. Furthermore, it identifies the three main fuel pathways on the course to meeting the IMO’s emission reduction targets for 2050 and beyond: light gas fuels, heavy gas fuels and bio/synthetic fuels. It also examines the possible capacity demand and related emissions output trends on a global basis to envision the environments in which those targets may need to be achieved. This information is offered solely to help provide industry stakeholders with the information they need to make informed decisions. The nearest challenges will require them to make choices between new fuels, energy sources and emissions control systems. It is offered as a tool to help shipowners understand the complexity of the task ahead and to move forward effectively as they assess their options for a transition to low-carbon operations, and further to the zero-carbon future of shipping.  Click here to view document

A Comeback of Wind Power in Shipping: An Economic and Operational Review on the Wind-Assisted Ship Propulsion Technology Todd ChouVasileios KosmasMichele Acciaro, and, Katharina Renken  relook at the data to confirm and remind us what we know about Wind-assisted ship propulsion (WASP) technology as a sustainable model to decarbonisation in shipping. A study that the public and private sector will need to know to move forward.   Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1880;


Wind-assisted ship propulsion (WASP) technology seems to be a promising solution toward accelerating the shipping industry’s decarbonization efforts as it uses wind to replace part of the propulsive power generated from fossil fuels. This article discusses the status quo of the WASP technological growth within the maritime transport sector by means of a secondary data review analysis, presents the potential fuel-saving implications, and identifies key factors that shape the operational efficiency of the technology. The analysis reveals three key considerations. Firstly, despite the existing limited number of WASP installations, there is a promising trend of diffusion of the technology within the industry. Secondly, companies can achieve fuel savings, which vary depending on the technology installed. Thirdly, these bunker savings are influenced by environmental, on-board, and commercial factors, which presents both opportunities and challenges to decision makers.