Green group responds to Carnival Corporation’s latest sustainability report

August 26, 2020 questions company’s carbon reduction goals, commitment to LNG ships and scrubbers

MIAMI — The world’s largest cruise operator Carnival Corporation released its 2019 sustainability report today, Wednesday, August 26, announcing what one green group is calling “meaningless” intensity-based carbon reduction goals. The group, international environmental organization, is also questioning the company’s continued commitment to LNG ships and scrubbers.

In response to the announcement, released the following statements:


“In late 2018, called out Carnival’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as virtually meaningless, as the reductions are intensity reductions, not absolute reductions. We stand by that criticism as we examine Carnival’s 2019 sustainability report. Carnival plans to calculate its carbon emissions based on total carbon emissions, the number of people the ship can host (called available lower berth or ALB), and distance traveled. That means the more the cruise giant expands its fleet, and the farther its ships travel, the more climate-damaging pollution it can release — while still reporting decreasing emissions. Decreasing the amount of climate pollution per person capacity, but increasing emissions overall, doesn’t address Carnival’s growing climate footprint.” -Gary Cook, Global Climate Campaigns Director,


“In early 2020, a groundbreaking report revealed that the most popular engine on LNG ships — which is also the one widely used by cruise ships — is actually worse than business as usual for the climate. These engines emit between 70% and 82% more life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions over the short-term compared to clean distillate fuels, due to a previously poorly understood source of climate emissions from LNG-powered ships called methane slip. The report’s shocking conclusion — that using LNG could actually worsen the shipping industry’s climate impacts — should be an alarming wake up call to Carnival Corporation as it continues to invest in LNG in a misconstrued attempt to reduce emissions.” -Gary Cook, Global Climate Campaigns Director,


“In 2018, Carnival Corporation’s Holland America Line dumped untreated greywater in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and failed to report it to the Coast Guard. This felony occurred while Carnival Corporation was already on probation for seven felony convictions. In their 2019 sustainability report, Carnival highlights its growing capacity to treat wastewater — but as we have seen with their criminal record, the capacity to treat does not mean that treatment will happen, and that it will be up to standard. We simply won’t know what is happening on board Carnival’s cruise ships until the company is subject to third-party monitoring with data available to the public in real time.” -Anna Barford, Canadian Shipping Campaigner,


Questions over the efficacy and cumulative marine impacts of ship scrubbers were front and center at the International Maritime Organization meeting earlier this year, with several organizations including calling into question the use of scrubbers as an alternative compliance mechanism for the new 2020 sulphur regulations. The vast majority of scrubbers are open-loops systems, which effectively turn air pollution into water pollution. On the British Columbia coast, this means that 31 billion litres (the equivalent of 12,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools) of scrubber washwater is dumped. The IMO must reconsider the cumulative impacts of scrubbers on the marine environment before cruise companies like Carnival continue falsely touting their climate benefits.” -Anna Barford, Canadian Shipping Campaigner,


“Finally, Carnival Corporation is getting something right. When Carnival Corporation first announced its plan to test battery power systems and hydrogen fuel cells on its AIDA brand ships, we applauded this groundbreaking move by the world’s largest cruise company to take the lead in developing zero-emission cruising technology. For years, environmental groups have been calling for the cruise industry to transition to hydrogen fuel cells and battery power from renewable sources — the only viable solutions for the cruise sector to adequately address its growing climate and human health-harming pollution.” -Gary Cook, Global Climate Campaigns Director,


“In late 2019, tentatively applauded Carnival Corporation for joining the Getting to Zero Coalition. But questions remain about Carnival’s commitment to zero-emissions maritime shipping, given the company’s multimillion dollar investments in the continued long-term use of fossil fuels. We will continue to call on on Carnival to demonstrate its commitment to climate leadership by ending all further investments in fossil fuel-powered ships, including LNG ships.” -Gary Cook, Global Climate Campaigns Director,


“Carnival highlights its dedication to ethics and compliance in its latest sustainability report, but in June, cruise executives were admonished in federal court for arguing that as part of its probation for environmental crimes, it shouldn’t have to also answer questions about its public health and diversity initiatives. Federal judge Patricia Seitz called the company’s compliance failures ‘systemic’ and ignored its request. The question remains: How much can we trust the promises of a company with 13 felony convictions, including efforts to falsify records to conceal their harm?” -Gary Cook, Global Climate Campaigns Director,


International environmental organization campaigns to end the use of heavy fuel oil, end ocean dumping, and secure strong climate commitments from the cruise sector. In January 2019, released a studycommissioned from a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty member showing that air pollution on the decks of Carnival ships can be as bad or worse than some of the world’s most polluted cities. is a member of the Clean Up Carnival coalition, an international alliance of organizations focused on cleaning up the cruise industry. In June 2020, the Clean Up Carnival coalition organized a World Oceans Day virtual rally with activists living in port communities around the world who are calling for the cruise industry to switch to cleaner fuels, end ocean dumping, and adopt strong climate targets before passengers embark on future cruises after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.


Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Communications Manager,, +1 510 858 9902 (PDT)