We evaluate public health and climate impacts of low-sulphur fuels in global shipping. Using high-resolution emissions inventories, integrated atmospheric models, and health risk functions, we assess ship-related PM 2.5 pollution impacts in 2020 with and without the use of low-sulphur fuels. Cleaner marine fuels will reduce ship-related premature mortality and morbidity by 34 and 54%, respectively, representing a ~ 2.6% global reduction in PM 2.5 cardiovascular and lung cancer deaths and a ~3.6% global reduction in childhood asthma. Despite these reductions, low-sulphur marine fuels will still account for ~250k deaths and ~6.4 M childhood asthma cases annually, and more stringent standards beyond 2020 may provide additional health beneﬁts. Lower sulphur fuels also reduce radiative cooling from ship aerosols by ~80%, equating to a ~3% increase in current estimates of total anthropogenic forcing. Therefore, stronger international shipping policies may need to achieve climate and health targets by jointly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department, Program, or Center
Dean's Office (CLA)
Sofiev, M., Winebrake, J.J., Johansson, L. et al. Cleaner fuels for ships provide public health benefits with climate tradeoffs. Nat Commun 9, 406 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02774-9
RIT – Main Campus