Like it or not, our global economy relies on shipping to transport goods and materials around the planet. There has been a lot of attention lately to the greenhouse gas emissions of the airline industry but now we're learning that shipping produces twice as much GHG as air traffic. It's not covered under the Kyoto protocol or any other legislation either and it's expected to increase by as much as 75% in the coming 15 years.
Researchers from the Institute for Physics and Atmosphere in Germany used data from the oil company, BP, which owns 50 tankers. They found that annual GHG emissions from shipping currently reach upward of 800 million tonnes.
The global shipping fleet now has about 70,000 ships with orders outstanding for an additional 20,000 vessels.