A 10-Year Projection of Maritime Activity in the U.S. Arctic Region
International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) for the US Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS)
[Green Car Congress] At the current allowable levels of sulfur in marine bunker fuels, pollutant emissions (particulates, black carbon, NOx, SOx, and CO2) from projected increased ship traffic transiting the US High Arctic could increase from 150% to 600% (depending upon the pollutant) above 2011 levels by 2025, according to a new working paper just published by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).
The new study is based on a study—“10-Year Projection of Maritime Activity in the US Arctic Region”—completed last month by the ICCT for the US Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) and submitted to the White House as part of the deliverables for the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region and its 2014 Implementation plan…
While that report projected vessel activity, it did not explore the environmental impacts of increased shipping in terms of air emissions or the potential climate impacts from increases in short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon. The new paper provides emissions estimate for the projected traffic growth outlined in that earlier report. The emissions report focuses on the low- and mid-range diversion scenarios—i.e., ships diverting from prior routes to Arctic routes.
- The low-diversion scenario assumes 2% diversion from the Panama and Suez canals between July and November of 2025. This equates to approximately 1% of the total annual traffic through those canals.
- The mid-range estimate assumes that approximately 2% of annual vessel traffic through those canals is diverted through the Bering Strait in 2025, largely through the Northern Sea Route nearest to Russia.
The ICCT team combined these diversion scenarios with regional traffic growth projections to estimate potential criteria-pollutant emissions assuming the use of current fuels compared to the implementation of requirements for the use of low-sulfur fuel of either 0.5% or 0.1%…