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IMO Report Calculates CO2 Emissions from Shipping 3x Higher Than Previously Believed

The Guardian. A new report from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has calculated that annual carbon dioxide emissions from the world’s merchant fleet have already reached 1.12 billion tonnes of CO2—nearly 4.5% of all global emissions of the greenhouse gas and about three times higher than previously believed.

The report suggests that shipping emissions —which are not taken into account by European targets for cutting global warming—will become one of the largest single sources of manmade CO2after cars, housing, agriculture and industry. By comparison, the aviation industry, which has been under heavy pressure to clean up, is responsible for about 650m tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, just over half that from shipping.

Until now, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated shipping emissions to be a maximum 400m tonnes, but the new draft report by a group of international scientists is a more sophisticated measure, using data collected from the oil and shipping industries for the International Maritime Organisation, the UN agency tasked with monitoring pollution from ships. It not only shows emissions are much worse than feared, but warns CO2 emissions are set to rise by a further 30% by 2020.



The organization Oceana has been doing a lot to try to draw attention to this problem...

They point out something that I haven't seen in the coverage of this report, which is that ships produce a LOT of black soot. This black soot can settle in glacier regions and sea ice areas causing an increase in sunlight absorption and much faster melting. Some scientists are beginning to believe black soot is a significant enough problem that it should be included along with the previously recognized GHGs (CO2, methane, NOx, etc.).

One hopeful thing that could be taken away from reading the Oceana material is the significant opportunity for some rather quick and dramatic abatement results. Ships woefully lack in emissions controls and burn fuel that is dirty beyond belief. The fuel situation could be solved very quickly and the emissions controls could be phased in much quicker compared to replacing a significant portion of the auto fleet.

Further, the CO2 could be reduced dramatically simply by requiring ships to travel significantly slower. While this might sound bad from an economic standpoint, apparently the current rules at a lot of ports makes ships race across the ocean to queue up and sit offshore waiting for dock space. A system of reserved appointments at docks could be instigated that gave the benefit of a known appointment, but requiring a slower trip. No more race and wait.


amongst other 1st class archive
From GCC Oct 2007,
To rehash.
California Attorney general files..
"Earthjustice, a US public interest environmental law firm, filed a similar petition with the EPA on behalf of Oceana, Friends of the Earth and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Ocean-going vessels of more than 100 tons are estimated to emit up to 3% of the total world inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)."

This report suggests 4.5% of total world inventory.
Interestingly 2020 projections are down from 75% to 30% in just 4 Months.

A 75% increase by 2020 is being used to justify dredging of Port Phillip bay Melbourne, It seems that one side may prefer their opponents figures.

Greenpeace, etc are more conservative than I.M.O. according to this.


Most merchant marine traffic avoids ice-laden waters and thus the soot falls into the ocean - not environmentally sound. These ships need to be globally mandated to burn low sulfur diesel and eventually - biodiesel prior to conversion to electric drive.

The toxic (non-CO2) emissions and soot are the most problematic right now.

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