Tag Archive for: CO2

Lisbon and Funchal in EU top 10 for polluting cruise ships

World Travel Awards
named Lisbon as Europe’s Leading Cruise Port 2022.
Last year well over 200 cruises (with 45,275 passengers) departed at the port of Lisbon.
These vessels are emitting more sulfur oxides (SOx) than one billion cars.

According to a recent study by the European Federation of Transport and Environment focussing on European ports and released by the Portuguese environmentalist association ZERO, atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gasses from cruise ships increased substantially last year compared to pre-pandemic levels; sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions by 9%, nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 18% and fine particles by 25%.

These pollutants are responsible for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and contribute to the acidification of the ocean. Worldwide, maritime transport is responsible for around 3% of global greenhouse emissions, 250,000 premature deaths, and 6.4 million cases of childhood asthma per year.

In the ranking of European polluters by cruise ships, the study puts Lisbon in 5th place after Barcelona (Spain), Civitavecchia (Italy), Piraeus (Greece), and Palma de Mallorca (Spain). The port of Funchal – the capital of the Portuguese isle of Madeira – rose 5 positions in the ranking (from 15th to 10th), which was justified by the considerable increase (25%) in cruise ship calls.

In 2019, the port of Venice won the unfortunate title of the most polluted cruise port in Europe. In 2022 it plummeted to the 41st position after banning large cruise ships from entering the port. The measure resulted in an 80% reduction in SOx emissions.

Zero draws attention to the ‘false solutions’ by cruise ship operators that do not represent viable measures and aggravate the ecological footprint. In the first place, the widespread use of exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers), promotes the emission of fine particles by 60% when used with heavy fuel.

Furthermore, wastewater discharges redistribute pollutants in the ocean. There is also a record of the wrong bet on liquefied fossil gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel, which hides the fact that LNG is more harmful to the environment than heavy fuels because of methane leaks, says the organization.

It would be far better to create conditions for cruise ships to connect to the electricity grid in Lisbon and Funchal and create laws to oblige them to do so! Not only will the environment gain but also the Portuguese economy through the electricity sold to these – mostly foreign  – ships.

Enjoy your week          Approveite a semana                (pic Público/Sapo)

July was the world’s hottest month on record.

The planet has reached +1.1°C above pre-industrial levels and is already starting to suffer the consequences with wildfires ravaging the US, Siberia, Greece, and Turkey, floods in Germany, Japan, and China, and thermometers hitting 50°C in Canada.

CO2 concentrations continue to rise and global warming is happening faster, warned United Nations, climate experts. In 2030 the limit of the Paris agreement (+1,5°C) could already be reached, 10 years earlier than estimated!

Temperatures are expected to rise even quicker around the Mediterranean. In Lisbon, average summer temperatures are predicted to rise from 28 to 34 degrees and the number of extremely hot days ( > 35°C) from 5 to 50 per year. Sea levels in the Algarve will rise by 20-30 cm.

However, hope gives life. Portugal is at the forefront of the European energy transition, according to the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyden.

There has been a significant rise in the consumption of renewable energy thanks to a reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels and the closure of the country’s biggest coal-fired power plant in Sines. Renewable energy production now supplies 68% of the electric consumption in Portugal.

Compared to other European countries, the country consumes less energy – about half of the EU average – and produces less waste. On the other hand, the country has one of the lowest rates of recycling materials, only one-fifth of the EU average.

The country rose eight places last year on the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) – a comparative analysis of climate protection in 57 countries led by Sweden – currently occupying place 17. Although greenhouse gases are decreasing in half of the countries analyzed, none of the countries is on a path compatible with the objectives of the Paris Agreement of 2015.

This summer two hydrogen-powered buses started circulating in the seaside resort of Cascais. It is the first municipality in the country to have electric buses powered by the energy generated onboard using a fuel cell.

The buses will serve two routes closely linked to nature. One along the sea, serving Guincho beach, and the other serving the Sintra-Cascais Natural park.

Contrary to popular belief, the Portuguese do not seem to be overly concerned about increases in fuel or heating prices as long as this contributes to the EU target of reducing emissions by at least 55% until 2030. A recent survey by the European Federation of Transport and Environment showed that more than 70% of the Portuguese want their government to increase efforts to slow down greenhouse emissions.

That climate change can also lead to unexpected side effects, shows the arrival of a colony of about 3000 flamingos – for the first time successfully nesting in the Algarve and the return of dolphins in the Lisbon Tagus.

Stay healthy                          Fique saudável            (pic Público/Ptnews)

Het litteken is het dunne lijntje van een mes, waarmee ik me gesneden had toen ik in Mouchão de Baixo een bootje aan het maken was van een plak kurk. Ik haalde met de punt van het mes stukjes kurk weg voor wat de binnenkant van het scheepje moest worden, toen dat ineens dichtklapte, waarschijnlijk omdat de veer te zwak was, en binnendrong in wat het op zijn weg tegenkwam, de buitenkant van mijn rechterwijsvinger, naast de nagel. Het scheelde niet veel of er was een lap vlees uitgehakt. Ik werd behandeld met een van de wondermiddeltjes uit die tijd, alcohol met balsemien. De wond raakte niet geïnfecteerd en groeide perfect dicht. Tante Maria Elvira zei dat ik stevig vlees had.”

[ Uit: Pequenas Memórias – Kleine Herinneringen – van José Saramago, 2006 ]

Kurk is een belangrijk exportproduct

Portugal is de belangrijkste producent van kurk in de wereld en exporteert sinds kort zelfs meer kurk dan wijn. Hoewel het merendeel van de productie naar champagne – en wijnproducerende landen gaat, wordt kurk ook gebruikt voor vloertegels, isolatie en decoratie. Recent is zelfs een ecologische verantwoorde zeep van kurk op de markt gekomen.

Kurk is een duurzaam en milieuvriendelijk product, dat bijdraagt aan de strijd tegen de opwarming van de aarde. Zo heeft het Agronomisch Instituut van Lissabon berekend, dat elke flessenkurk 250 gram CO2 aan de atmosfeer onttrekt. Dat is ongeveer evenveel als een auto, die 1 km rijdt, de lucht inpompt.

Kurkeiken groeien uitstekend in een droog en warm klimaat

Kurk wordt gewonnen uit schors van de kurkeik, die vooral in de droge, zuidelijke Alentejo provincie uitstekend gedijt. De bomen worden ongeveer 200 jaar oud en kunnen vanaf de leeftijd van 25 jaar elke 9 jaar worden geschild. In 2011 werd de kurkeik uitgeroepen tot “boom des vaderlands.”

Saramago van kurk in Guinness Book of Records

Meer dan 300.000 kurken waren nodig om een mozaïek te maken van de Nobelprijswinnaar José Saramago, dat in 2014 in het Guinness Book of Records kon worden bijgeschreven. Het paneel van 24 bij 4½ meter is te bezichtigen in het cultureel centrum van Porte de Sor, een dorpje ergens midden in Portugal.

‘Er zijn dingen die nooit met woorden verklaard kunnen worden’

Geniet van het weekend          Tenha um excelente fim de semana