- Where We Work
- Who We Are
- Info & Tools
Ships are a very efficient means of moving goods, across the globe or along a nation's coastline or inland waterways. But they are also an increasingly important source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The conventional pollutants produced by shipping are primarily sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulates. Some portion of this pollution occurs far from land, but an estimated 70 to 80 percent of air toxics from oceangoing vessels are released within 400 kilometers of shore, where they can have substantial effects on human health. Carbon dioxide emissions from international shipping more than doubled between 1990 and 2007. The marine sector now generates about 2.7 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, and recent growth projections suggest it could account for seven percent of global emissions by 2050.
How nations decide to regulate marine emissions over the next decade, individually and collectively, will hold important implications for air quality and the global climate.
The ICCT seeks to further strategies addressing the air quality and climate impacts of shipping at both the international and national or local levels. In work contributed to the International Maritime Organization, we promote development of market-based mechanisms (MBMs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while preserving and enhancing conventional pollutant emission standards, particularly for arctic black carbon emissions. Through independent research as well as in consultation with national and local governments, our work supports development of Emission Control Areas (ECAs) and vessel speed reduction (VSR) initiatives throughout the world, implementation of approaches to indexing and reducing ship emissions intensity such as the International Association of Ports and Harbor’s Environmental Ship Index (ESI) project and the World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI), as well as emerging local regulatory and policy efforts focused on marine-related air emissions issues (e.g. China’s emerging NOx/SOx programs).