The Environmental Defense Fund released a report, “Floating Smokestacks: A Call for Action to Clean Up Shipping Pollution” (PDF), which finds that large ocean-going ships in U.S. waters are one of the world’s largest emitters of global warming gases, responsible for about 3 percent of global CO2 emissions. The report also recommends protective policy actions.
The report analyzed the latest available data from the EPA (2001) and found that large ocean-going ships in the United States emitted:
— About 54,000 tons of particulate matter (PM 2.5), equivalent to the emissions from about 117 coal-fired power plants.
— Approximately 745,000 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx), equivalent to the NOx emissions from 94 coal-fired power plants.
— Nearly 40 percent of all sulfur dioxide emitted by the transportation sector.
The report says that ocean-going vessels are currently subject to weak international emissions standards, and offered the following recommendations:
1. Establishing protective limits on pollution around America’s coasts through cleaner fuel standards.
2. Addressing global warming pollution from ships.
3. Taking actions to reduce or eliminate emissions from ships that are near or in ports by cutting idling emissions when these big ships are at dock.
Reuters reported that action to curb emissions from ships may be close. The topic was a top agenda at the U.N. International Maritime Organization meeting.
IMO will decide on how best to reduce CO2 gases and hopes the action plans agreed on will be enough to prevent the U.N. from imposing its own emission rules at a Climate Change Conference in December 2009.
New research presented at a climate change conference in U.K. says carbon trading will not solve the problems of soaring emissions from the aviation and shipping industries.
In April, the shipping industry floated the idea of a new marine fuel tax to combat climate change.