Black carbon emissions and fuel use in global shipping, 2015

Ships are an efficient way to move cargo, transporting approximately 80% of the world’s goods by volume, but ships also threaten human health, ecosystems, and the climate. This report focuses on the air and climate pollutant black carbon (BC). As one component of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), BC contributes to heart and lung disease and is also a danger to the environment. Globally, BC from all sources is the second largest cause of human-induced climate change and is contributing to the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice. Ship emissions account for a substantial and growing share of BC from diesel engines used in transportation. Additionally, the widespread use of residual fuels, mainly heavy fuel oil (HFO), in international shipping exacerbates the problem because ships using residual fuels emit more BC than if they operated on cleaner distillate fuels.