SOME of us are aware of our daily production of climate changing CO2 as it’s all around us, with our heating, lighting, car driving, flying, excessive consumption of manufactured goods and imported food.

However there’s one major contributor that’s ‘out of sight and so out of mind’ and, importantly, none of its carbon emissions are included in any country’s figures. They’re just ignored, and they arise from the world’s shipping fleet.

Not only are there a very large number of ships, over 50,000 but they use the cheapest and filthiest fuel which guarantees the highest level of CO2 emissions plus unwanted chemicals like sulphur.

There are some very large ships trading, such as oil tankers, bulk carriers and container ships. Indeed the sixteen largest container ships together produce more sulphur than all the world’s cars, now more than a billion.

The 7,000 oil tankers carry over two billion tonnes of oil every year, with loads up to 500,000 tonnes. There are even more bulk carriers, 17,000, for the likes of wheat, timber, iron ore and coal, with cargos of 400,000 tonnes, while the 5,000 container ships annually move over seven million twenty foot containers, often up to 19,000 on the largest vessels.

Additionally there are over 10,000 general cargo ships, while cruise liners probably set the record for the most emissions of CO2 and sulphur for their size, the equivalent of 100,000 and one million cars respectively.

World trade guarantees that shipping emissions are growing and at over four percent of the world total, they’re not only twice that from all the flying, but will treble by 2050. Already the CO2 emitted is more than twice the total UK figure which appears lower than it should be because we ignore the contribution from UK shipping.

It’s not surprising that the global CO2 total continues to grow.