The marine shipping industry does not appear to be facing up to its responsibilities to make significant changes to the way that it transports goods across the world. The global shipping industry currently transports over 10 billion tons of goods per year, and this is forecast to increase by over 3% per year for the next five years.
Carbon dioxide emissions from global shipping currently account for over 3% of the global total. They have increased rapidly in recent years, with an average annual increase of 3.7% since 1990. Projections by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) suggest that emissions could treble over the next three decades, driven by growth in international trade. By 2050, carbon dioxide emissions from global international shipping could account for up to 25% of total fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions.
Air pollution from shipping is also a major problem, causing around 50,000 premature deaths per year in the EU and costs society around €60bn. Sulphur dioxide and NOx emissions are converted into fine particles, sulphate and nitrate aerosols, as well as particles directly emitted by ships such as black carbon and potential carcinogens. Currently, the largest 15 cargo ships produce more sulphur dioxide than all the motor cars in the world and NOx from shipping is set to exceed NOx from all EU land-based sources in the coming decade.
There is a lot to do.