Connection and its costs: Sea shipping and climate change

Although generally hidden from consumers, international maritime transport is the backbone of the globalized economy—and accounts for approximately 2.2% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Due to rising demand for shipping, the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions are increasing despite improvements in operational efficiency for many ship classes.

The industry is likely to be affected by wide-ranging and potentially devastating climate change impacts associated with rising sea levels and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

Despite their significant carbon output, international shipping emissions have been left out of global climate change agreements like the Paris Agreement. (The same is true of aviation.) To lower the sector’s emissions effectively, shipping policies must be applied worldwide. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), which regulates international shipping, is slowly engaging with the issue. In May 2018, member countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050—but some observers believe this goal is not ambitious enough.

The sea shipping and climate change event was organized by The Architectural League and held at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch on June 14, 2018.