SOURCE: Grist

DATE: November 6, 2017

SNIP: About 90 percent of everything we buy will travel on ships like these at some point. And all of these behemoths burn fossil fuel, contributing significantly to the warming atmosphere and shifting climate patterns.

Many cargo ships still use “bunker fuel” — the sludgy dregs of the petroleum refining process. The noxious blend is dirt-cheap, making it possible to charge next to nothing to ship goods internationally. All of which means our unbridled consumerism hitches a ride on some of the dirtiest vehicles on earth.

The [COP23] agreement…excluded pollution from international shipping and aviation in its targets to limit global warming. Officials had argued that those industries don’t easily fit into national or regional emissions schemes — and so they were left to regulate themselves.

Experts say regulatory action and big, bold investments will be essential to curbing the shipping industry’s contribution to global warming. Left unchecked, its carbon footprint is expected to soar in coming decades — just as emissions from cars and power plants flatline or decline. That means shipping could cancel out progress in other sectors.