“We don’t believe it’s a coincidence that these medical issues are appearing here,” she says.
The International Council on Clean Transportation recently noted that sulfur dioxide emissions from world shipping are higher than those from all of the globe’s cars, trucks and buses combined. In addition, the shipping industry’s nitrogen oxide emissions count for 27 percent of the world’s total smog.
The biggest obstacle to reductions, says Ms. Patel, is the pressure from the shipping industry. The International Bunker Industry Association is a case in point. They are skeptical about changes in the use of bunker fuel, saying that switching to low sulfur fuels is costly.
In October of 2008, the U.N. agency that regulates shipping, the International Maritime Organization, will convene. Both environmentalists and the shipping industry hope to reach some agreement on global emission reductions.
“Everyone wants to see strong regulations on the international level,” says Mr. Kaltenstein. “We need to rein these emissions in before they get worse.”
Ms. Patel agrees. “Once emission controls become standard worldwide – at least in the U.S. – market forces will adjust. If strong regulations are in place, the demand for the low-sulfur fuel would increase and the costs would go down.”
“Now that global warming is a hot topic and the health of residents is at stake, the pressure on the shipping industry is growing,” she says, adding that she hopes the U.S. will take the lead in the types of fuel used. “We can make a big difference.”<--Previous : : Next Page-->