By Trevor Neilson
Our oceans are the world’s biggest life support system. Half of the world’s oxygen is produced by them and every second breath you take comes from the ocean. 3 billion people, nearly half the world’s population, directly rely on the ocean for their livelihood or their basic survival. The seas are home to an incredible array of life, from the creatures we all know like dolphins, turtles, and coral reefs, to the species living on the sea floor – the largest habitat on earth where there is still so much more to discover. Here in California, where WasteFuel is based, we are lucky to have animals like the California sea lion and the grey whale on our doorstep.
World Ocean Day gives us a chance to reflect on what the oceans give us and how we can protect them. Marine life is under threat from many angles, including the rising tide of waste and plastic pollution. But the biggest long-term threat to the health of the ocean is the rising temperatures brought on by the climate crisis.
Rising temperatures will lead to the ocean waters becoming more acidic and containing less oxygen for fish to breathe. Many marine animals and plants are sensitive to temperature, and will migrate to ever-smaller habitats as climate change kicks in. Disasters such as hurricanes and flooding will increase. In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, the ocean currently plays a key part in regulating global temperatures and absorbing excess carbon dioxide, a critical role threatened by rising temperatures. The ocean is at the frontline of climate change.
All kinds of human activity need to decarbonise for us to tackle the climate crisis. But this World Ocean Day and every day we, at WasteFuel, are focused on an industry that will always be tied our seas – shipping. Most of us might not see shipping containers from day-to-day, but commercial shipping is a major provider of our lifestyles - 90% of consumer goods travel on a ship at some point. And shipping has a footprint to match, producing around 3% of global CO2 emissions – more than numerous countries around the world, including Germany and Australia.
The good news is proven solutions exist to decarbonise shipping and reducing the sectors emissions will help secure our ocean’s future. Here at WasteFuel we are working with leaders in shipping to develop and scale sustainable marine fuels. We take waste that would otherwise rot or degrade and release CO2, methane, and other pollutants, and convert it into green bio-methanol that can be used to power container ships. This fuel can reduce up to 90% of the emissions compared to using conventional shipping fuel. We need to take these solutions and expand them as quickly as possible. Companies and governments need to respond to public demand for sustainable business and push this forward.
What happens to the ocean will shape all our futures. Addressing emissions is a key part of maintaining the life-sustaining power of our oceans. WasteFuel is proud to be scaling solutions that can help reduce waste and emissions to revolutionize the future of mobility.