About 90 per cent of the world’s trade is carried by ships, slipping across the oceans far out of sight from land. The industry can claim to be truly international in a way few sectors can, which poses problems when trying to limit its environmental impact.
The OECD’s International Transport Forum says that from 2010 to 2050, international trade-related CO2 emissions are likely to quadruple, overtaking the output of passenger traffic, as larger volumes of goods funnel to new, more distant markets. While aviation emissions are predicted to see the biggest spike, sea freight emissions are still expected to see a 238 per cent increase to the middle of the century.
But attempts to address the rise in emissions have repeatedly run aground. Although discussions continue around using a market-based mechanism such as a tax on bunker fuel or an emissions trading scheme to tackle shipping emissions, painfully slow progress at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has been limited to a series of efficiency measures.READ MORE OF THIS STORY