SOURCE: The Conversation

DATE: December 18, 2018

SNIP: Maritime shipping transports 90 percent of the goods traded around the world by volume. Moving large amounts of goods such as oil, computers, blue jeans and wheat across oceans drives the global economy, making it cheaper and easier to buy almost anything.

But hauling goods around by sea requires roughly 300 million tons of very dirty fuel, producing nearly 3 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, giving the international maritime shipping industry roughly the same carbon footprint as Germany.

At summits like the COP24 meeting held in Poland in December of 2018 and in agreements such as the one struck in Paris in 2015, national governments have largely ignored the carbon dioxide emissions from international shipping entering the atmosphere.

This is a real problem because if no country is held responsible for emissions, no government will try to reduce them.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development expects trade to continue to grow in the coming decades. The International Maritime Organization, the international body that regulates shipping, predicts that as trade grows, carbon dioxide emissions from international shipping could increase by as much as 250 percent by 2050.