Shipping Tops Flying as Polluter

New figures prove that shipping produces more emissions than aviation
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2007 3:33 PM CDT
Tugboats guide a container ship owned by China Shipping Line to the Port of Newark, N.J. on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007. The economy grew at its strongest pace in more than a year during the spring as solid...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – For armchair environmentalists, aviation seems the ultimate evil, but research from climatologists finds the shipping industry a "far more damaging" polluter. Maritime transportation emits twice the greenhouses gases of airplanes, the Independent writes, and the sector is growing so fast that earlier research underestimated its damage by at least 50%.

Environmental agencies are pushing for regulations for what has been an "invisible industry,"  estimated to produce a billion tons of emissions a year, compared to the  650 million tons emitted by aviation. Most commercial vessels are powered by "bunker" fuel, produced from the runoff of the refinement process to produce higher-grade gasoline; one insider calls it "the crap that comes out the other end that's half way to being asphalt."