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Carnival’s cruise ships pollute more than all of Europe’s cars: Study

Carnival’s cruise ships pollute more than all of Europe’s cars: Study
[Photo: Dale Frost/Port of San Diego/Flickr]

Carnival Corporation and its Princess subsidiary just can’t seem to quit polluting the planet. As the Financial Times reports, Carnival’s pollution problem is so bad that across its fleet, the large boats pollute 10 times more than all 260 million of Europe’s cars. That tidbit comes courtesy of a study by the European think tank Transport & Environment, which looked at 203 cruise ships sailing European waters in 2017. The organization found that Carnival–and its brands–were the proud owners of seven of the 20 most polluting cruise-ship lines.

The report also found that besides over-tourism and crashing into ports, there’s a good reason for European cities to dislike cruise ships: they are emitting sulfur dioxide all over the place. If you can’t keep your pollutants straight, sulfur dioxide causes both acid rain and lung cancer. Cruise lines, it turns out, have been dropping the gas all over Europe; the report says Barcelona, Palma Mallorca, and Venice were the cities worst affected by sulfur dioxide emissions. Per the FT, “sulfur dioxide emissions from cars was 3.2m kt versus 62m kt from cruise ships, with Carnival accounting for half that, the study found.”

The report comes just days after Carnival agreed to pay a $20-million fine and undertake increased monitoring of its delightful practice of dumping sewage and plastic waste directly into the ocean (as well as its leaking gas, dirty water, and oily discharge). The company apparently tried to cover up its environmental misdeeds by falsifying records, fixing problems right before inspections, and even trying to get the U.S. Coast Guard to redefine the terms of its environmental compliance plan.

This isn’t the first time that the company has admitted culpability. It has a long list of environmental violations dating back to 1993. Carnival was hauled into court in 2016, and the company pleaded guilty to dumping oily waste from its Princess Line ships; it was fined $40 million and given a five-year probation period. On Monday, it admitted to violating that probation, which resulted in this latest $20-million fine as well as a dressing down by U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz. “You not only work for employees and shareholders. You are a steward of the environment,” she told Carnival CEO Arnold Donald, according to NPR. “The environment needs to be a core value, and I hope and pray it becomes your daily anthem.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

We reached out to Carnival for comment or, you know, a plan to stop polluting. Here’s what they sent:

CLIA and its cruise line members are committed to a zero-emission future, as is the entire maritime sector. The cruise industry represents less than 1% of shipping and is making progress towards this goal, but it will take time. The industry welcomes the involvement of civil society in this discussion and is disappointed Transport & Environment has published the internal analysis, conducted exclusively by internal staff, without discussion, input or updated insights from the cruise industry or cruise destinations. There is further concern that the results have been published without any academic scrutiny, peer review or scientifically-robust methodology.

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