1.800.265.1914
Call Now1.800.265.1914

How 16 Ships Create as Much Pollution as All the Cars in the World

May 06, 2014

The majority of us are aware of the negative environmental impacts that are associated with the vehicles we drive. The government and environmentalists alike tell us to ride our bikes, to use public transportation, to buy hybrid vehicles and don't you dare idle! But is it us and our vehicles that are really the primary offenders? What about transportation on the much larger scale? I'm talking about transportation on the seas.

According to Fred Pearce - environmental consultant to New Scientist and author of Confessions Of An Eco Sinner - just 16 of the world's largest ships can produce as much lung-clogging sulfur pollution as all the world's cars.

The International Maritime Organisation is the UN body that polices the world's shipping. For decades, the IMO has rebuffed calls to clean up ship pollution. As a result, while it has long since been illegal to belch black, sulfur-laden smoke from power-station chimneys or lorry exhausts, shipping has kept its license to pollute.

There are an estimated 100,000 ships on the sea, and this number is growing. Not only do these ships use an enormous amount of fuel, they use an enormous amount of marine heavy fuel or 'bunker fuel'. This type of fuel comes from the thick residue left behind in refineries after the lighter liquids have been taken. The use of this type of fuel on land is illegal. "It's tar, the same as asphalt. It's the cheapest and dirtiest fuel in the world," says Christian Eyde Moller, boss of the DK shipping company in Rotterdam.

When burned, it leaves behind a trail of potentially lethal chemicals: sulfur and smoke that have been linked to breathing problems, inflammation, cancer and heart disease. IMO rules allow ships to burn fuel containing up to 4.5 per cent sulphur. That is 4,500 times more than is allowed in car fuel in the European Union. The sulphur comes out of ship funnels as tiny particles, and it is these that get deep into lungs. Thanks to the IMO's rules, the largest ships can each emit as much as 5,000 tons of sulphur in a year - the same as 50 million typical cars, each emitting an average of 100 grams of sulphur a year. With an estimated 800million cars driving around the planet, this means 16 super-ships can emit as much sulphur as the world fleet of cars.

Smoke and sulphur are not the only threats from ships' funnels. Every year they are also belching out almost one billion tons of carbon dioxide. Ships are as big a contributor to global warming as aircraft - but have had much less attention from environmentalists. Both international shipping and aviation are exempt from the Kyoto Protocol rules on cutting carbon emissions.

The British Chamber of Shipping, as well as others, has proposed that the IMO set up a carbon-trading scheme to encourage emissions reductions. However, the IMO's response was that this wasn't feasible due to poverty. Two-thirds of the world's ships are registered in developing countries such as Panama. These are just flags of convenience, to evade tougher rules on safety and pay for sailors. Without limits, carbon emissions from shipping could triple by 2050.

So what is the solution? Using cleaner fuel sources to start. "Burning low-sulphur fuel won't cut carbon emissions from ships. But there are other ways. More efficient engines could reduce emissions by 30 per cent," according to British marine consultant Robin Meech. "Cutting speed could reduce emissions by as much again. And there are even wackier ways, such as putting up giant kites to harness the wind as in the days of sailing ships."

FREE Online Energy Audit

Conduct a FREE Online Energy Audit of Your Home with the MIT Award Winning My Energy Expert Application.

Western Ontario

935 Keyes Drive
Woodstock, Ontario
Canada N4V 1C3

Phone: 1-800-265-1914

Fax: (519) 539-7946
TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Southwestern Ontario

7035 Industrial Drive
Comber, Ontario
Canada N0P 1J0

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Muskoka, Haliburton, Northern Ontario

1027 Elwell Park Road
Gravenhurst, Ontario
Canada P1P 1R1

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Central Ontario

29 Ferndale Industrial Drive
Barrie, Ontario
Canada L4N 9V5

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Eastern Ontario

103 North Port Road
Port Perry, Ontario
Canada L9L 1B2

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA & South Central Ontario

450 Industrial Dr,
Toronto (Milton), Ontario
Canada L9T 5A6

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

BBB

Great Northern Insulation - Better Business Bureau Profile.

Lowes

GNI is the Authorized & Trusted Insulation and Air Sealing Installer for Lowe’s

Enenrgy Savers

Energy Saving

Energy saving and energy efficiency is easier than one might think. Great Northern Insulation helps to identify performance issues, while taking advantage of improvement opportunities.

100% Canadian

100% Canadian

Great Northern Insulation is recognized as Canada's largest full-service insulation contractor. GNI is 100% Canadian owned, proudly serving Ontario customers since 1980.

Foam Masters

Do it right the first time
- with foam mastersTM

WALLTITE® ECO™ is a high-performance system, professionally installed by certified and approved specialists. Its C.C.M.C. approved (Canadian Construction Materials Centre) - with product quality guaranteed - and with installation by highly trained experts with the technical know-how to do the job right, the first time.

Homestars

Best of 2017

From reputation to responsiveness, HomeStars consistently ranks Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction. Thanks to everyone for the great ratings! 

HomeStars 2018

Best of 2018

For the second year in a row, HomeStars consistently ranks Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction. Thank you again to everyone!

GreenGuard

The GREENGUARD®
Gold Certification promise

GREENGUARD® Gold Certification ensures the strictest criteria for low-level chemical emissions. Certified products are safe for individuals with sensitivities (children/elderly) and safe for use in school environments and health-care facilities. The product certification is widely recognized by the LEED Rating System (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).

Insulthane Extreme

Insulthane® Extreme

For the ultimate in high performance spray foam insulation, Insulthane® Extreme is the professional choice for residential, commercial, and industrial application. With improved thermal performance over other products, Insulthane® Extreme has an exceptionally low Global Warming Potential (GWP). Considered environmentally friendly, this next generation spray foam insulation is non-ozone depleting, and exceeds specifications of other HFC product alternatives.

EcoLogo

ECOLOGOTM:
Multi-attribute product certification

ECOLOGOTM is an accredited sign of environmental performance – holistic – green – sustainable - and compliant with strict, third party standards. Life cycle criteria for product certification may include manufacturing and operations; health and environment; product materials and performance; and product innovation, development, and management.

3M

3MTM products.
Quality + Performance = Savings

3MTM energy-saving products are designed to keep warm air in, and cold air out, while keeping energy bills down. Products optimize energy efficiency in buildings and homes; improve indoor environment for occupants; and effect the reduction of seasonal energy costs. 3M products are authorized for LEED credits (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).

Baeumler

Baeumler ApprovedTM
Professional, Certified and Insured

Baeumler ApprovedTM gives you peace of mind when connecting with contractors, trades and home service providers. All Baeumler Approved members have demonstrated high quality work for customers and other trade professionals. Members must also have Workers Compensation, liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 and prove professional certification.

Holmes and Holmes

Holmes and Holmes

 

Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.

Enbridge

Enbridge Incentives

The Energy Conservation Program provides incentives of up to $1,600 to customers who achieve energy efficiency and fuel savings – and Great Northern Insulation can pave the way.

Renomark

Great Northern Insulation proudly abides by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct set by RenoMark™.

Please, enter a valid value

Incorrect values!