Domestic shipping’s air pollution impact miscalculated for years

Domestic shipping, including the offshore industry, ferries and tugs, produces far more CO2 and air pollution than formerly thought

Supply boat out at sea. Photograph: suwatpo/123RF
Offshore industry support vessels release more than a million tonnes of CO2 per year but were excluded from the national emissions inventory. Photograph: 123RF

Shipping in UK waters releases far more air pollution than had been estimated, according to a consultancy.

Ricardo Energy & Environment, whose report for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was published on 15 December, has detailed serious and chronic failings in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI). Its analysis shows that current emission figures are based on obsolete ship movement data that does not properly account for the full variety of vessels and routes.

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