Branson Targets ‘Dirty’ Cargo Ships

In Europe, News Headlines, Protests & Campaigns

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has declared war on the shipping industry with a new climate change initiative.

The Carbon War Room, an independent venture, wants to see an efficiency rating on every ocean going vessel to help clean up the industry.

It is the first of many industries being targeted by the group which believes climate change can be solved through business rather than government summits.

Ministers from 190 countries are into their second week of negotiations in Cancun, Mexico with no sign of a global deal.

Sir Richard told Sky News: “It is up to us business leaders to help those politicians deliver, they haven’t delivered so far, if they don’t deliver we can’t afford to wait.

“It is up to us to get our house in order and make sure the world is safe for our children and our grandchildren.”

While shipping is a relatively clean mode of transport it accounts for over a billion tonnes of C02 a year, if it were a country it would be the world’s sixth biggest emitter.

Carbon War Room believes the sector could be made at least 30% more efficient by upgrading and refitting ships.

Their website has catalogued 60,000 of the world’s ocean going vessels, with the cleanest rated ‘A’ and the worst polluters scoring ‘G’.

Peter Boyd, who is leading the project, explained: “You can go online and see an estimate of how clean or dirty the ship is.

“Whether you are an owner and you want to display that you are an A grade ship, whether you are a port or if you are a brand like Marks and Spencer or Sainsbury’s, you can start to pick your fleet depending on how efficient it is.”

The ratings are estimates but Carbon War Room believes there is only a one to two percent margin of error.

Industry experts have welcomed the move although they say it currently paints a very general picture.

Dr Simon Walmsley of WWF International told Sky News the ratings would provoke an industry reaction “and hopefully get them around the table to discuss how this can be a more accurate representation”.

He added: “If that happens this will be fantastic, as these sort of rankings are very helpful for both customers and consumers.”

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