The figures in the report, seen by The Guardian, are based on recalculations carried out by Intertanko, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, according to which global shipping operations are responsible for emitting 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2, equivalent to 4.5% of worldwide emissions. This represents three times more than current estimates of 400 million tonnes, but also twice as much as the 650 million tonnes said to be emitted by aeroplanes.
The new calculations, which are thought to be more precise than earlier ones as they take into account not only the quantity of low grade fuel bought by shipowners but also the size of ships, their fuel efficiency and horse power – cast fresh doubts over the Commission's decision not to include shipping in its emissions trading scheme after 2013 (EurActiv 23/01/08).
The report further finds that CO2 emissions from shipping are likely to increase by a further 30% by 2020 and that other pollutant emissions such as nitrogen (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides (SOx), which are responsible for acid rain and respiratory problems, could rise even more than that if no action is taken.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) last week finalised proposals for reducing air pollution from ships, but these still have to be rubberstamped by members in October, at a meeting of the organisation's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).