Maritime transport causes about 4% of global man-made CO2 emissions© Jacob Balzani Loov
New JRC Reference Report sets out options to reduce emissions from shipping
A new JRC reference report provides the first comprehensive overview of methodologies for estimating air emissions from shipping, describes technological solutions and proposes policy options for reducing carbon emissions and air pollution in this sector. Maritime transport causes about 4% of global man-made CO2 emissions which makes its carbon footprint approximately as high as Germany's. There is no regulation of international maritime transport emissions yet, but this is currently under discussion in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
At present, around 50,000 merchant ships transport 90% of global goods and make maritime transport indispensable for world economy. Although maritime transport has the lowest ratio of CO2 emissions per ton, its GHG emissions are expected to significantly increase from currently around 1 giga-tonne per year, by an estimated 150-200% over the next four decades.
Moreover, the shipping sector is a source of air pollution. Unless measures are taken, air pollution over the main shipping routes will increase due to an estimated 10-20% rise in sulphur dioxide emissions in the next two years.
Technical solutions to reduce fuel consumption, air pollutants and greenhouse gases are readily available and range from better ship design, propulsion and machinery to optimised operation.
The new JRC Reference Report "Regulating air emissions from ships: the state of the art on methodologies, technologies and policy options"
- analyses the methodologies to assess the impacts of the maritime sector on the environment, and identifies shortcomings in reliable and comprehensive sources of information;
- describes the existing technological solutions to reduce fuel consumption, air pollutants and greenhouse gases in detail and assesses their cost-benefit efficiency;
- reviews market-based options addressing both regional and global measures - such as a GHG Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) for the shipping sector - which are needed on top of technical solutions in order to achieve significant improvements.