Path to Zero
Path to Zero
4.17 - The Pathway to Green Shipping with Green Marine’s Eleanor Kirtley

Tucker continues his look at efforts to decarbonize transportation in a conversation with the largest voluntary environmental certification program for the maritime industry in North America. Dr. Eleanor Kirtley is a senior program manager for Green Marine, which works with ports, ship operators, terminals, and others to help improve their environmental performance.

International shipping has more than doubled in annual trade volume over the last 25 years. This growth, combined with shipping’s traditional reliance on high carbon fuels, has made the industry a large emitter of greenhouse gases. Marine shipping currently accounts for about 20% of global emissions from transportation.

Green Marine targets key environmental issues related to air, water and soil quality, and community relations.

“We look to foster a culture of partnership, continual improvement and transparency,” Kirtley tells Tucker. “We bring together those who want to volunteer to go above and beyond the required regulations.”

Kirtley says Green Marine works with companies that would normally be commercial competitors but want to collaborate for the sake of the environment, health, and safety.

In a far-reaching conversation, Tucker talks to Kirtley about Green Marine’s certification program, its efforts to reduce the impact of shipping on marine life and the use of innovation to help the industry move toward a zero-carbon future.

According to Kirtley, there is a push toward electrification in the industry, but she also sees the need to use “all the tools in the toolbox” to combat climate change.

“We have such a diversity of different commodities being handled with different vessel types that there will be different fuels that come out on top that really seem to be the right fit for these different applications,” says Kirtley. “We will have regulatory sticks and we’ll have voluntary incentive program carrots. We need to put bridge fuels into place. Let’s not let perfect stand in the way of progress
and capture gains now with currently available technology and plan for the zero-carbon future.”