NOx emissions from merchant vessels in coastal China: 2015 and 2030

Published: 2018.12.28

Xiaoli Mao and Daniel Rutherford

This paper estimates NOx emissions from merchant vessels in China’s coastal region from 2015 to 2030. Our results indicate that merchant vessels have become a non-negligible source of NOx emissions, and if left unchecked, will become a prominent problem in the near future.

This analysis developed a revised emissions inventory for all three categories of merchant vessels—oceangoing vessels (OGVs), coastal vessels (CVs) and river vessels (RVs)—in China’s coastal region. We focused on one pollutant in particular, nitrogen oxide (NOx), that is of particular concern to policymakers in China. We estimate that in 2015 merchant vessels contributed about 14% of all NOx emissions in the coastal region that extends 100 nautical miles (nm) from China’s baseline. China’s domestic fleet was responsible for about one third (37%) of merchant ship NOx in 2015. If left unchecked, shipping’s share of coastal NOx emissions could nearly triple, from 14% to around 38%, by 2030. These findings highlight the need for further action to control NOx emissions along China’s coast.