Scientists have said that ships are adding to global warming in a big way because they are a major source of pollutants like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and black carbon.
According to a report in ENN, because of the fact that ships remain unregulated by the authorities, their impact on global climate goes unchecked. The report adds that even the Kyoto Protocol or any other international treaty has been unable to limit these emissions.
The report largely lays blame on the global fleet of marine vessels for affecting the global climate.
It is estimated that this fleet releases between 600 and 900 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, an amount equivalent to emissions from at least 130 million cars - about the number of cars operated in the United States.
In fact, by 2020, these emissions could double 2002 levels, and they could be triple those levels by 2030.
Other disturbing facts about the effects of the ships on climate are that a single container ship emits more global warming pollution than 2,000 diesel trucks, and that the ships contribute nearly 30% of the world's releases of nitrogen oxides.
Also, black carbon or soot, which is another pollutant released by ships, can warm the air hundreds of thousands of times more than the same amount of carbon dioxide. This is quite alarming as black carbon may be responsible for as much as 25% of observed global warming.
The report lays stress on formulating a plan of action to counter this situation caused by ships.
A positive step towards this plan is the sending of a petition by Friends of the Earth and the Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana, to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to regulate these emissions.
According to the report, ship pollution can be reduced considerably by controlling the operation of marine vessels, including fuel type and vessel speed among other solutions. These actions will help achieve the emissions reductions so desperately needed to protect the oceans and marine ecosystems.