Centuries back when human beings started technological developments the need for the use of fossil fuels was considered imperative to produce power for the operation of machinery
Carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases usually known as “Greenhouse Gases” that are collecting in the atmosphere due to human activity form a thickening blanket, trapping the sun’s heat causing the planet to warm up. Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. It is imperative to reduce emission of heat trapping gases to save the planet, avoid hurricanes, stormy seas, floods, droughts, dangerous diseases like cancer and others, destruction of ecosystem, extinction of species, animals, plants, earthquakes and development of unheard viruses caused due to global warming in human and animals physiques etc. Since the past two decades the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history and has an inclining trend.
The year 2005 was the warmest year, says NASA. Over the past 30 years the earth was warmed by over 0.6 degrees centigrade that is attributed due emission of greenhouse gases. Global warming is instrumental to create heat waves, which has already taken a death toll of thousands of human lives.
According to NASA, the polar ice cap is now melting at an alarming rate of 9% per decade which is yet another alarming signs of events to cause. Due to global warming, the oceans are getting warmer; tropical storms can pick up more dangerous hurricanes, stormy seas - a matter of great inconvenience/ danger to safety and well being of seafarers and shipping. Melting glaciers, early snow melt and severe floods followed by droughts will cause more dramatic water shortage. Global warming causes rising sea levels, which lead to coastal flooding.
Forests, farms and cities will face troublesome new pests and more mosquito borne diseases.
Global warming can cause a sudden shift in the earth’s climate. It could make huge areas of the world uninhabitable and causes massive food and water shortage; sparking wide spread immigrations and wars. Due to global warming the oceans have become warmer and changes in water temperatures could disrupt ocean currents. There is a significant rise in sea levels due to global warming, causing melting of polar ice. Evidence suggests that sea levels have risen by ten to fifteen centimeters. Since the past one hundred years. Certain islands like Maldives Islands that are hardly a meter above sea level are threatened to be devastated.
Global warming: Has endangered wild life. A large number of animals and other species are fast diminishing. It has also resulted in more forest fires. Global warming causes pervasive damage to the environment. Among the associated environmental impacts are bio-diversity loss, sea level rise, increased droughts, spread of deadly diseases, weather pattern shifts, increased flooding, shortage in fresh water supply, earthquakes and an increase in extreme weather events claiming lives of millions of human beings, animals and other living organisms. Presently, due to human activity there exists an alarming atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other green house gases that has strengthened the green house effect thus has contributed to global warming.
THE GREENHOUSE GASES: Until 1970, scientists and researchers considered carbon dioxide was attributable to global warming. In the mid ninety seventies they began to realize that other gases emitted by human activity have a green house effect strong enough to add to global warming and these gases could bring as much damage as carbon dioxide itself.
a) Methane: Hydro-carbon methane mixed with more complex gases is as opaque as a plank of wood.
b) CFC-chloro-floro carbon: The industrial gases known as chloro-floro carbon (CFC) could become a grave threat to the ozone layer.
c) Shuttle flights: Hundreds of shuttle flights ambitious project of NASA is also attributable to damage the ozone layer due to discharge of chlorine by the shuttle.
d) Super sonic transport fleet: Super sonic transport fleet which today has been put out of operation was yet another known activity to damage the ozone layer.
e) Industrial chemical carbon tetra chloride (CCL 4): These along with all chlorine bearing components also damage ozone layer and are instrumental to global warming. A single molecule of CFC could be ten thousand times as effective as a molecule of carbon dioxide.
f) Nitrogen oxides – Sulphur oxides, sulphates and ozone: All these are other contributors for global warming.
g) Emission of methane gas: Another factor is emission of methane gas from soil bacteria, de-forestation and the advance of agriculture. Scientists have discovered that methane in the atmosphere is increasing at an astounding rate, perhaps 2% a year and eleven % increase in the last eighties decade.
IMPACT ON SHIPPING- MARPOL ANNEX VI: The momentum behind environment improving legislations has convinced the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to introduce Marpol Convention Annex –VI and creation of more areas where conventional fuel is prohibited to curb upon high sulphur emission from fuel used on board ships. The new regulations will limit sulphur emission requiring using either maximum 1.5 % Sulphur fuel oil or on board exhaust gas scrubbers or additional purification centrifuges to reduce sulphur contents.
MARPOL ANNEX VI- What it means;
• Annex VI regulations set limits on emission of sulphur oxides (SOX) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) from ships exhaust and prohibit deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances, the regulations were added to MARPOL in 1997.
• The annex introduce a global cap of 4.5% by mass (% m/m) on the sulphur content of fuel oil and calls on IMO to monitor the worldwide average sulphur content of focal area the protocol comes into force.
• Annex VI allows for special SOX emission control areas (Seca) to be established with more stringent controls. In these areas, the sulphur content of fuel on ships must not exceed 1.5% m/m.
• Alternatively ships must fit an exhaust gas cleaning system or use other methods to limit SOX emissions, to be approved by flag state.
• The Baltic Sea Area is designated as a Seca in the protocol, although the 1.5% limit will not be enforced for another twelve months.
Hopefully, MARPOL ANNEX VI Convention shall enter into force in November 2006; full implementation will come twelve months later. MARPOL Annex VI applies to all ships of more than 400GT.
Since May 2005, ships trading in the Baltic have been required to comply with the Seca rules, one way or the other. Ships trading in most parts of Western Europe will have to comply with the same requirements by November 2007, when the North Sea and the channel become Secas.
In near future it is apprehended that MARPOL ANNEX-VI may also be made applicable to other areas, as well to curb upon emission of high sulphur contents from the exhaust of ships.
The conversion of ships operating on low sulphur content fuel oil or compliance of other requirements required under the rules will cost the ship owners additional costs.
The burning of fossil fuels have increased the greenhouse gases content of the earth’s atmosphere and it is imperative to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases to save the planet.
It is a matter of great concern for the maritime industry that use of fuel with low Sulphur contents and different fuel grades while change over in different zones has been reported to cause main engine frequent breakdowns, This issue needs urgent redress.
OCEAN RESCUE: Life on earth depends on healthy oceans. Saving a living planet demands that we accept the real peril facing our oceans and act accordingly to reverse their decline and return them to good health.
The recent collapse of Mexican Oil Rig: The major oil spill from the Mexican Oil Rig warrants taking immediate actions to avoid such a disaster.
CLEAN FUEL TURMOIL: Fuel used in the transport sector especially in motor vehicles, buses, trucks etc. is one another concern. The West has already tightened fuel standards. By the end of 2007, the countries will have to move to lower sulphur emission standards. Unfortunately, in many countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America has no harmonized standards on limit for sulphur, a cause of acid rain, lungs problems and all other associated consequences related to global warming. All such countries must move forward without any delay to meet cleaner fuel standards demand and take steps to upgrade their refineries. Refineries are required to meet higher environmental standards over the next decade.
Many countries worldwide have met EURO-II standard of 500 ppm./o.o5% sulphur content in fuels used in vehicles. By 2010, nations with more than 8 million bpd of demand plan to cap sulphur at 50 ppm.- a move that Europe has officially made in 2005.
A number of countries worldwide have now adopted EURO-IV standards yet in a number of countries worldwide even today petrol, diesel and other petroleum products containing Sulphur contents ranging from 1000 ppm to almost 2000 ppm. of Sulphur are in use.
It is, therefore, strongly recommended to launch an extensive awareness campaign to convince people and Governments of the developing and under-developed states to take corrective steps to save the planet from the havocs of global warming.
The ITF has already taken a positive step in this regard by adopting the issue of Climate Change in the 41st.ITF Congress meeting at Durban, in its Board Meetings, Meetings and ITF Asia/Pacific Regional Conference and now at the 42nd.Congress Meeting at Mexico City where a Conference on Climate Change is exclusively scheduled to be held on Dec.3,2010.
The ITF may consider to launch lobbying politically the states of the world, the United Nations and among all its affiliates in sequence with awareness of the havocs of global warming.
If countries who does not upgrade its refineries to meet global standards then it shall have to import low- sulphur fuels. As of today, many countries lack the secondary units needed in the refineries to produce fuel requirements to meet the new specification. Countries using fuel having large percentages of sulphur shall be rated as high risk for the existence of this planet and the super powers of the world may attack them and/or place sanctions/and or force them to import cleaner fuels at exorbitant prices, which is bound to cripple them.
The updating of refineries is a very high cost investment venture that many countries financial budget does not permit.
The United Nations may create a welfare fund for providing financial assistance on soft terms to countries having oil refineries to upgrade their refineries to obtain petroleum products of EURO IV standards thereby reducing the risk of a catastrophe that may be caused due to emission of green house gases causing global warming rather than providing relief assistance to the victims of havocs caused due to global warming.
USE OF DIRTY OIL TECHNOLOGY FOR RECYCLING OF USED LUBRICANTS/ AND FOR OBTAINING LUBRICANTS FROM LUBRICANTS: The lubricants base oil is so produced by refineries cannot be used as such unless their physical and chemical properties suiting a particular type of machine are compounded. The light and heavy base oils are mixed in suitable proportions to adjust its thickness to engine requirements. Further, during use to control lubricants foaming, rust prevention, to act as detergent, non-freezing in cold climate, anti-oxidant and thermally stable product is needed for which some organic metallic additives have to be added so that the lubricant can reduce friction and heat in the engine, act as a coolant and sealant liquid. These additives are called poly-chloro-bi-phenyls (PCBs) and poly-chloro-ter-phenyls (PTBs) etc. These additives have been found to be environmentally hazardous and can cause human cancer of lever, kidney, can cause deformities in newly born children and can cause other ailments if consumed in high dosages. These PCBs are therefore to be either thermally destroyed or safely recycled so that they do not enter into air, water or ground to find its ultimate way into food chain or water. These compounds are very stable and only high incinerator temperatures might destroy them. Their safe disposal is necessary and can only be had by the use of “Clean Oil Technology”.
Likewise, when used lubricants are recycled to obtain lubricants; use of Clean Oil technology is imperative.
In countries where “Dirty oil technology” is used there exist very high risk of these highly dangerous compounds to find access in the atmosphere and finding their way into food chain and water supply.
GLOBAL WARMING AND POLLUTION THREATENING “ROOF OF THE WORLD”: The Chinese scientists have warned in early 2005, that the fragile environment of the Tibet-Qinghai plateau, known as the roof of the world, is under serious threat from global warming. The plateau includes more than 360,000 square kilometers (140,000 square miles). The plateau is the cradle of rivers in China, India and Pakistan and home to many rear animals, plants and medical herbs. The entire plateau is deteriorating due to climate change as a consequence of global warming, over grazing and increasing human activity.
Researchers found that the climate of the plateau which has an average elevation of 4,461 meters (14,721 feet) and includes Mount Everest has warmed, rainfall has increased and glaciers have shrunk.
From the nineteen eighties onwards, the plateau has experienced a period in which the temperature has obviously been on the high side and it has been noted that the days above freezing were increasing. Despite the increased rainfall the area of glaciers is shrinking. The Himalayan and Tibetan glaciers feed Asia’s greatest rivers including rivers of Pakistan. Global Conservation Group WWF in the early 2005 warned that the plateau’s wet lands have seen declining water levels and lake shrinkage and that rivers and streams have dried up considerably. It said melting glaciers would first cause flooding down streams to low land Asian countries and later droughts.
From 1990 to 1991, people saw dirty snow falling in the Mount Everest area which scientist determined was polluted by oil smoke floating from the Persian Gulf region. It was the westerly that blew the soot of the burning airfields in the Middle East to the mountain and seriously contaminated both the air and the water environment at its north scope. Meanwhile, overgrazing and frequent human activity has badly damaged grasslands, resulting in serious soil erosion and a drop in soil fertility.
One can conclude from common sense that when such large glaciers melt away having huge weights definitely have exerted severe stresses on the plates of the earth due to enormous shift of loads. The Almighty Allah has categorically expressed that mountains are pillars on earth and when these pillars melt away then one can foresee the consequent stresses caused due to bending moments and sheer stresses faced by the earth’s plates. None else can better visualize the effects of shifting loads resulting in dangerous bending moments, sheer force and reduction of metacentric heights, decrease in stability better than the professional technocrats of merchant marine who fully understand the issues and consequences of endangering the rightening lever value on board ships that are attributable towards making a ship either tender or stiff or even result in the capsize of the ship itself.
One can visualize that due to melting away of the glaciers caused due to global warming has set up severe stresses on the earth’s plate due to which the world has witnessed a record number of earthquakes in several parts of the world.
It is evident from above that global warming is attributable to disasters worldwide and in the case of increasing human activity in sequence with emission of greenhouse gases and their subsequent are imminent. One can easily opine that it is a writing on the wall that in near future the world may face hurricanes, storms, floods, earthquakes, spread of cancer, diseases, water shortage, droughts and many more such disasters.
The need for curbing upon global warming is thus imperative to save the earth rather than finding ways and means to provide relief to the victims of disasters. It is the duty of all countries of the world to introduce an Awareness Campaign to inform public about the harmful effects of greenhouse gases and endeavour best to initiate positive steps to safeguard the planet.
TSUNAMI AN ANOTHER DISASTER CAUSED DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING.
Consequent upon global warming the oceans are getting warmer. The main reason being that oceans store vast amounts of heat, much more than the heat stored by the atmosphere, because water is 1000 times more dense and has a heat holding capacity four times that of air. Ocean currents are primary highways for the transport of heat around the globe. When earthquake occurs at sea bed it triggers the heat stored at its bottom heat energy thus triggered suddenly cause strong currents and ferocious high waves; the water from shores rushes back to the affected area of earth quake at the sea bed and further sets up high levels of kinetic energy that further aggravates the heat energy causing waves to become more ferocious that make their way towards the shore causing “Tsunami”- a great disaster.
SURE WAY TO COMBAT HAVOCS OF DISASTERS CAUSED DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING.
a) Reduce pollution from vehicles and power plants.
b) Explore alternative energy sources such as wind, sea, solar, geo-thermal and nuclear source.
c) Manufacture of more efficient appliances.
d) Need of a political will to adopt ways and means to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases with out any delay.
e) Need for introduction of an extensive Awareness Campaign in sequence with the issue of global warming- climate change.
f) Strict laws to be framed to cap emission of carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases/pollutants from power plants, industrial facilities and transport fuels, stricter efficiency requirements for electrical appliances will also help reduce pollution.
g) By phasing out the decades old, coal burning power plants and replace them with cleaner plants using “Clean Coal Technology” whereby carbon-dioxide is eliminated and the so obtained carbon dioxide can again gainfully be used for flooding in oil wells to obtain more crude.
h) Reduce de-forestation and grow more trees.
i) Ensure cleaner oceans; avoid sea pollution, cutting of mangroves and other sea plants for reclamation of land.
Global Warming can trigger a sudden catastrophe. In today’s world when financial crunch has engulfed the whole world and the economies are melting away causing great inconvenience to the population of the world; if due to global warming one or more catastrophe strikes any part of the world; it is my considered opinion that no country either individually or collectively can face the havocs of disasters caused due to global warming and the world cannot stand the blow caused by any such further disaster.
We must remember that human life is most precious and due to havocs of global warming-climate change a large number of human lives are lost; thousands are injured and displaced and it is our utmost duty to save human life including that of animals, birds and other species rather than causing an increase in the emission of green house gases; and subsequent upon any calamity provide relief to the victims.