An Evergreen Marine container ship, the first commercial marine vessel equipped to measure marine emissions, set sail yesterday as part of an ambitious project to measure and monitor the distribution of greenhouse gases in the Pacific Ocean.
The mission, which will measure marine hydrocarbon and halocarbon emissions, is part of an international “Pacific Greenhouse Gases Measurement (PGGM) project” initiated last year by Taiwanese scientists at National Central University with the cooperation of China Airlines (華航), Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), the National Science Council (NSC), the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the University of Cambridge.
The project will combine data from Taiwan’s FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC satellite, Evergreen container vessels and China Airlines aircraft to chart greenhouse gases in three dimensions and provide data supporting research on global warming and ozone layer depletion.
The US$70 million, 300m long Ever Ultra, which departed yesterday from the newly built Taipei Port to the Persian Gulf, was the first of two Evergreen ships that will participate in the project, with the second scheduled to sail to the Atlantic on July 24, NCU said.
Wang Kuo-ying (王國英), director of NCU’s Center for Environmental Studies, said prior to the Ever Ultra’s launch that the project would for the first time generate invaluable data from in-service container ships and aircraft, as opposed to fixed measurement stations.
“This is an unprecedented effort that will over the next 20 years observe the global distribution of greenhouse gases, which will put Taiwan’s greenhouse gas observation on the same track as international studies,” Wang said.
Of the project touted as a sign of Taiwan’s determination to join international efforts in battling global warming, Wang said: “This is the best present that Taiwan can give to the world.”
Chen Chin-hsiung (陳進雄), vice general manager of Evergreen Marine Corp, said that by becoming the first marine corporation to assist in greenhouse gas observation, his company was committed to doing its part in the battle against global warming.
EPA Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) said the project also demonstrated Taiwan’s commitment to fighting climate change.
“In the face of global warming and climate change, every country should volunteer and work hard to resolve the problem, and that’s exactly what Taiwan is doing even though it’s not a signatory country of the Kyoto Protocol,” he said.
The PGGM project will also collaborate with the EU’s In-Service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) project to install instruments on commercial aircraft to monitor atmospheric composition and aerosols and gather data.
The first IAGOS flight will set off in November, while China Airlines, which promised to offer 10 A340-300 aircraft for the PGGM program, is scheduled to make its first flight as part of the research program across the Pacific in August next year.