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Port of San Diego cuts air pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions

Port of San Diego cuts air pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions
The Port of San Diego reported significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants produced by maritime operations, achieved in part through the efforts of its Green Port program.

According to a new report, greenhouse gas emissions from non-military ocean-going vessels, harbor craft, locomotives, on-road vehicles and cargo handling equipment were reduced by 42% in 2012 compared to the baseline year of 2006. Other harmful air pollutants were also significantly reduced, including nitrogen oxides by 50% diesel particulate matter by 75% and sulfur dioxide by 94%.

After the baseline measurements were taken in 2006, the port put into place emissions control strategies to reduce the largest sources of emissions from its maritime operations. A Vessel Speed Reduction Program was developed in 2009 and a Clean Truck Program was implemented in 2010. Additionally, shore power was installed at the cruise ship terminal in 2010, reducing emissions from berthed cruise ships.

State regulations mandating engine upgrades and the use of cleaner fuels greatly contributed to the reductions of maritime emissions. Another important factor was the recent recession, which resulted in lower economic activity and fewer vessel calls.

Overall, maritime activities are cleaner than they used to be. For example, ocean-going ships produced fewer emissions on a per-vessel basis during 2012, compared to 2006.