Why is this work important?
Ships carry over 90% of the world's cargo. Global commerce depends on shipping for the efficient, reliable, and cost-effective transportation of goods around the world. While ships provide enormous benefit to society, the fuels that they burn are often dirty and result in high levels of pollution.
This paper presents the most comprehensive, up to date estimate of the global health impacts of air pollution from ships. Using state of the art models of ship traffic, emissions, meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, and health, we show that air pollution from ships currently contribute to over 400,000 premature deaths each year.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have mandated that starting in 2020, ships must burn cleaner fuels. This work shows that these cleaner fuels will likely result in over 135,000 avoided deaths from lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.