Today ships are responsible for 13 percent of diesel emissions worldwide. Until 2050 this number could even triple, says a current study of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The situation in the Arctic is especially dramatic. It is expected that the emissions from ships in arctic waters will be six fold until 2025 and accelerate the melting of the ice.
The expected rise in emissions would eliminate much of the effort achieved on land so far. While exhaust fumes from cars, trucks and power plants are filtered, the shipping industry is incredibly excused from anti-pollution. To make things worse, even if the emissions happen in the air on the high seas – it can be blown several hundred kilometres inland. Just in Europe air pollution from ships causes about 50.000 premature deaths.
There are still solutions. The ICCT study estimates that emissions could be reduced by 70 percent with the currently available measures – and that’s even a conservative estimation. If all ships would use soot particle filters, 99,9 percent of soot could be filtered from the fumes. The use of marine diesel with a better quality and effective exhaust gas emission systems needs to become compulsory for all ships.