The results are in for a trial incentive program to slow cargo ships in the Santa Barbara Channel, and they show the effort is already saving blue skies and blue whales, a coalition of government and nonprofit groups announced this week. From July through November 2014, seven shipping companies slowed their ships to 12 knots (down from 14-18 knots) for 27 trips through the channel and for an incentive payment of $2,500 per trip. That resulted in a reduction of 16 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions and 500 metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions. Also, there were no known whale strikes. The groups now hope to create a permanent, full-scale incentive program in the Channel and up the coast.


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