Natalia Welzenbach-Marcu | May 15th, 2019
An environmental group recently met to discuss methods of reducing pollution and emissions from an often under-the-radar source: The shipping industry.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is an environmental group paving the way for cleaner and greener ocean vessels. Despite the increased use of planes for transport, roughly 90% of global trade is still done by boat.
Currently, pollution from ships accounts for about 3% of global emissions in total, but could balloon to 17% by 2050.
Ship fuel isn’t regulated the same way that most onshore fuels are. Most ships use what’s often referred to as “dirty fuel”, and it produces large amounts of sulfur and carbon into the air. Sulpher is known for contributing to acid rain; the black carbon is often carried by the wind towards the Arctic, where it stains the snow, increasing the amount of heat that snow absorbs and adding another layer to the greenhouse effect.
The group discusses ways of reducing these various emissions during their meeting, avenues of saving the climate that included restricting ships to use fuel with less than 0.5% sulfur content and investing in alternative fuel. While a 3% contribution to global emissions may not seem like much, any reduction in our planet’s pollution is welcome.