UK emissions from shipping six times higher than thought
True scale of C0₂emissions from shipping revealed
higher than previously believed, according to a leaked UN study seen by the Guardian.
reached 1.12bn tonnes of CO₂, or nearly 4.5% of all global emissions of the main
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 CO₂emissions a year, just over half
that from 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 CO₂emissions are set to rise by
a further 30% by 2020.
IPCC, said: “This is a clear failure of the system. The shipping industry has
so far escaped publicity. It has been left out of the climate change discussion.
I hope [shipping emissions] will be included in the next UN agreement. It would
be a cop-out if it was not. It tells me that we have been ineffective at tackling
climate change so far.”
that paid for the report. Governments and the EU have consistently played down
the climate impact of shipping, saying it is less than 2% of global emissions
and failing to include shipping emissions in their national estimates for CO₂emissions.
and on the EU to include shipping in its emission trading scheme. Last month aviation
was provisionally included following intense pressure – but shipping escaped.
largely based on the quantity of low grade fuel bought by shipowners. The latest
UN figures are considered more accurate because they are based on the known engine
size of the world’s ships, as well as the time they spend at sea and the amount
of low grade fuel sold to shipowners.
faster than CO₂emissions. Sulphur and soot emissions, which give rise to lung
cancers, acid rain and respiratory problems are expected to rise more than 30%
over the next 12 years.
other countries bordering the English Channel, one of the world’s busiest shipping
lanes. A recent peer-reviewed study of shipping emissions found world shipping
led directly to 60,000 deaths a year.
tanker operators which provided data for the report, said the industry was taking
steps to cut emissions. “World trade and ship numbers have seen a steady increase,
but in parallel there have been economies of scale with larger, more efficient
ships. Individual ships have steadily been reducing their fuel consumption for
the last 20 years. One litre of fuel on a modern very large crude carrier moves
one tonne of cargo more than 2,800km; this is more than twice as far as 20 years
the shocking complacency of governments which have completely ignored shipping
emissions. It is essential that our own government’s new climate change bill includes
both shipping and aviation emissions and measures are urgently brought forward
at EU level.”
government would support the development of a global emissions trading scheme
through the IMO, and was also “investigating the feasibility of including maritime
emissions” in the EU’s trading scheme. He said the shipping industry must take
its “share of responsibility” for tackling climate change.
the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, Intertanko, is Peter
Swift, not Peter Smith as we said in the article above. This has been corrected.