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Ships pollute more than planes

More CO2 overall, not vessel for vessel

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Ships pump out twice as much carbon dioxide as planes, according to new figures from the maritime industry body Intertanko.

The body also warns that the industry should brace itself for the attentions of various governments. Bill Box, from Intertanko, told the Independent newspaper: "Shipping has not yet been regulated and for politicians it is the last low hanging fruit."

Previous studies from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have shown that ships emitted levels of CO2 similar to those from the aviation industry. But Intertanko says emissions have risen steeply over the last six years as ships are sailed faster to meet the demands of the planet's growing economy.

It said there had also been a general increase in global trade which contributed to the increase in emissions. Ships transport some 90 per cent of goods around the world.

Although mile for mile, shipping is still much more efficient than driving or flying goods from place to place, it is the sheer volume of the traffic criss-crossing the seas that is the problem. Some 90,000 vessels cut regular channels through the oceans, burning low-grade "bunker fuel" that churns out choking fumes that contribute to air pollution over land.

The shipping industry is also under pressure to reduce the amount of these other pollutants it produces, such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide and sulphuric acid. ®

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