A 2009 study by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of greenhouse gas pollution from shipping has revealed that by improving technical and operational efficiencies, ship operators could dramatically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, by as much as 75 percent. The IMO study describes these prospective efforts as cost-effective and important. The study showed 2007 carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the global shipping sector to be 1,046 metric tons or 3.3 percent of all global CO2 emissions. In addition, the study estimated that without policies aimed at limiting emissions from ships, global shipping CO2 emissions could be expected to grow by a staggering 150 to 250 percent by 2050.
Based upon these findings, ocean conservation group Oceana urges members of the International Maritime Organization to act immediately to regulate greenhouse gas pollution - the primary source of which is CO2 in exhaust from ocean-going ships.
Following is a reaction statement from Jacqueline Savitz, senior director of Oceana's climate change campaign:
"This latest IMO study, produced by a group of distinguished international researchers, confirms that the global shipping fleet is a major contributor to the climate crisis. The study findings also confirm that the shipping industry could help slow climate change sooner, because technological and operational changes can be made quickly. Many of these changes will also improve economic competition, as they depend in a big way upon increasing fuel efficiency.
Until recently, the global shipping industry eluded the regulatory radar. This oversight can easily be corrected. The Kyoto climate agreement failed to include the shipping industry. The Copenhagen negotiations to be held later this year should rectify that omission by including mandatory emissions reductions from ships.
In the meantime, the Environmental Protection Agency should set a powerful example by developing and enforcing emissions standards for all ocean-going commercial ships entering United States waters. Oceana and other conservation groups petitioned the EPA to do so last year, yet the agency has failed to act thus far. Until the United States and other countries begin to dramatically reduce shipping emissions, we will forgo crucial progress in slowing climate change."
For more information about Oceana's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large, ocean-going vessels, please visit www.oceana.org/climate.