90 percent of the world's goods are transported by ship. Even our oil and natural gas is shipped largely through these extremely dirty ships that go virtually unregulated. (A rough estimate is that the U.S. burns a barrel of oil for each 3 barrels received in shipping.)
To illustrate how dirty they are:
- Ships generate 15 to 30 percent of the world's smog-forming emissions.
- Bunker fuel burned by ships is 1,000 times dirtier than highway diesel used by trucks and buses.
- A single ship coming into harbor produces the smog-forming emissions of 350,000 new cars.
- More than one in 10 children has asthma in the world's biggest port cities.
- Researches are finding that the black soot from ship smokestacks settle on polar ice sheets and help cause melting.
How much of this smog is generated by the U.S. nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers? Comparatively none. Although they have diesel backup, the ships primarily use steam powered by nuclear energy. Subs, for instance, are highly efficient and can go over 35 years before refueling on about a roughly 1 cubic yard volume of fuel. That cubic yard is power for air, water, electricity, heat, and propulsion for a large sub for several decades.
Can you imagine if we could replace the cruise ships, oil tankers, and large shippers with nuclear powered steam fleets? Replacing 90,000 worldwide ships is equivalent to removing 31.5 billion new cars- that's over 5 cars for each person on earth. It would help save countless marine life, human life from asthma, cancer, and autoimmune disorders, help the critically endangered reef habitats, prevent a significant portion of oil spills, and save immense amounts of carbon emission and pollution which affects every form of life on the globe.
|A large ship crashes into a reef and spills oil and containers. From Al Jazeera's article "World's Oceans in Peril"|