The Role of Shipping in Climate Change


The Role of Shipping in Climate Change

Shipping has played a vital role in global trade for centuries, moving goods and people around the world. However, the impact of shipping on climate change has become an increasingly pressing concern in recent years. As the world looks to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the shipping industry is also responsible for taking measures to minimize its carbon footprint. Here we'll look at the impact of shipping on climate change and what the industry is doing to reduce its environmental impact.

Impact of Shipping on Climate Change

The shipping industry is responsible for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Its emissions are expected to rise by up to 250% by 2050 if no action is taken to reduce them. More specifically, international shipping accounted for 940 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2015, which is equivalent to about 2.5% of global greenhouse gases.

Part of the problem with shipping and climate change is the sheer scale of the industry. Shipping is responsible for around 80% of the world's trade by volume, with more than 50,000 merchant ships currently in operation. These vessels use heavy fuel oil, the residues from crude oil that are left over after gasoline, diesel, and other lighter fractions are taken out. Heavy fuel oil is high in sulfur and other pollutants, making it a significant contributor to air pollution.

The Impact of Ballast Water Exchange

The transfer of ballast water between different parts of the world has been one of the significant ways that marine organisms are introduced into new environments. This has led to the introduction and spread of invasive species that can cause significant economic and ecological damages, threatening biodiversity. The impact of ballast water exchange on climate change is immense, as it contributes to increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists estimate that transferring ballast water from one location to another around the world generates up to 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by shipping. The IMO has taken several measures to control the impact of ballast water exchange on climate change, including an international convention on ballast water management.

Measures to Reduce Shipping's Carbon Footprint

The shipping industry is taking several measures to minimize its carbon footprint. One of the most significant actions is the use of cleaner fuels such as liquefied natural gas and biofuels. Many shipping companies are investing in electric and hybrid vessels as well as retrofitting existing vessels to use cleaner fuels. There is a growing trend of fuel cells being used in ships as they have zero-emission levels.

Another measure is improving the energy efficiency of ships. Modern ships are designed to be more streamlined, reducing drag and resistance in the water. This means that they require less fuel to move through the water, reducing their carbon footprint. Other approaches include fitting vessels with better propellers, innovative hull designs, and waste heat recovery systems.


Reducing the impact of shipping on climate change is a significant challenge, but the industry is taking steps to address the issue. The use of clean fuels, energy-efficient vessels, and sustainable practices are among the measures being adopted, by the government and other relevant bodies, respectively. These steps will help to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping and will have a positive impact on the environment, biodiversity, and human activities.

David Anderson, age 35

born in the United States

John Smith is a seasoned sales manager with over 10 years of experience in the shipping industry. Born and raised in the United States, John developed a passion for the ocean at a young age and knew from an early age that he wanted to work in the maritime industry.

After completing his degree in marine transportation, John began his career as a sales representative for a shipping company, working his way up the ranks to eventually become a sales manager. In this role, John is responsible for managing a team of sales reps and overseeing the sales of the company's ships.

With his extensive knowledge of the shipping industry and his ability to build strong relationships with clients, John has proven to be an invaluable asset to the company. He is known for his ability to negotiate complex deals and close high-value sales, and he has a reputation for consistently meeting and exceeding sales targets.