Climate Change could affect the Panama Canal basin. Source: www.pancanal.com
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. Therefore, its effects on health and economy could become worst than those of the pandemic due to covid-19. As a result, the shipping industry could become one of the most affected by this phenomenon. Consequently, the Panama Canal has launched a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Commitment to Change
The United Nations, through pillar 13 of the sustainable development goals, seeks to promote the development of solutions for climate change. Thus, the Panama Canal has apply measures to achieve its carbon neutral goal. Such measures are based on renewable energy, greenhouse gas measurement and operational and environmental efficiency improvement.
According to the administrator of the Panama Canal, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales: “This process will continue with our permanent efforts to minimize the environmental impact of the Canal.Which already includes encouraging our clients to use clean fuels and reduce their carbon footprint.”
Actions to Tackle Climate Change
The Panama Canal has taken several actions to achieve its goal. Firstly, a pilot program of four electric cars, as a test, to migrate its fleet to vehicles that do not use fossil fuels. Secondly, the use of boats and tugboats that use alternative energy. Thirdly, energy production through photovoltaic plants and hydraulic methods. Finally, ensuring that all infrastructure facilities and projects are environmentally responsible and sustainable.
In addition, there are also initiatives aimed to protect the hydrographic basin and the local communities. Through alliances with the neighbors and the use of the Environmental Economic Incentives Program, it has been possible to reforest 12,000 hectares of the canal’s hydrographic basin. As a result, this has improved the quality of life of its inhabitants.
Environmental Recognition “Green Connection” and EPR
The Panama Canal seeks to encourage the maritime industry to reduce the impact of its operations. For this, it uses the “Green Connection” environmental recognition program and the Enviromental Premiun Ranking. These initiatives recognize those customers who have high standards of environmental efficiency in their operations and low-carbon fuels. As a reward, clients who comply with these provisions, will be given the opportunity to improve their position within the client classification system. Hence, these clients will be allocated in priority places.