Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An unknown pollution source

Many people accuse world trade for all sorts of illness, from the loss of well-paying factory jobs in the U.S. to the rise of sweatshops in China and other developing nations. Now add global warming to the list.
The more than 90,000 commercial vessels crossing the oceans produce more carbon dioxide than all but 10 of the 39 industrialized nations originally included in the Kyoto Protocol, says a study by the International Council on Clean Transportation. That includes the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. This massive global boat float also emits more sulfur dioxide than all the cars, trucks, and buses on the planet, and a sixth of all the nitrogen oxide pumped into the atmosphere, says the study.
The “much too big” emissions at sea reflect the limitations of world politics. While national governments have forced giant reductions in discharges from vehicles and smokestacks, the U.N.'s International Maritime Organization (IMO) has maintained looser limits on ships, in part because 139 countries are involved in crafting controls. Some fuel burned in ships, for instance, contains 27,000 parts per million of sulfur on average. In the U.S., diesel fuel cannot have more than 15 parts per million. The IMO plans to take up new pollution standards at a midsummer meeting.
It seems that bigger intervention of governments will be necessary to stop the habit of “polluting without caring” because the whole world has to change these habits. It is not only little non-costly intervention that will change the situation for the future generations.

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