When the world's largest merchant ship ferries its monthly cargo of 13,000 containers between China and Europe it burns nearly 350 tonnes of fuel a day. The Emma Maersk supplies Britain with everything from toys and food to clothes and televisions, but its giant diesel engine can emit more than 300,000 tonnes of CO2 a year - equivalent to a medium-sized coal power station.
Until now reducing CO2 emissions from the world's fleet of almost 90,000 large ships has not been a priority for governments or shipowners. Previously, the accepted figure for shipping emissions - drawn from information supplied by the industry - has been a maximum of 400m tonnes of CO2, or around 1.8% of global emissions.
But with today's disclosure that emissions from shipping are three times higher than previously thought, many experts will be asking why the industry has escaped the attention of governments and environmental campaigners alike.The world's burgeoning shipping fleet currently emits 1.21bn tonnes a year, the draft UN report seen by the Guardian says, constituting nearly 4.5% of world emissions.
Of course, with cargo shipping accounting for much of the West's cheap imports, and thus keeping down inflation rates, its a tricker subject to get all hot about... perhaps more tax on motorists can offset these emissions?
Read article - 'Shipping boom fuels rising tide of global CO2 emissions'