Valuating environmental impacts from ship emissions - the marine perspective

Shipping is an activity responsible for a range of different pressures affecting the marine environment, air quality and human welfare. The methodology on how ship emissions impact air quality and human health are comparatively well established and used in cost-benefit analysis of policy proposals. However, the knowledge base is not the same for impacts on the marine environment and a coherent environmental and socio-economic impact assessment of shipping has not yet been made. This risk policies to be biased towards air pollution whilst trading off impacts on the marine environment. The aim of the current study was to develop a comprehensive framework on how different pressures from shipping degrade marine ecosystems, air quality and human welfare. A secondary aim was to quantify the societal damage costs of shipping due to the degradation of human welfare in a Baltic Sea case study. By adding knowledge from marine ecotoxicology and life-cycle analysis to the existing knowledge from climate, air pollution and environmental economics we were able to establish a more comprehensive conceptual framework that allows for valuation of environmental impacts from shipping, but it still omits economic values for biological pollution, littering and underwater noise. The results for the Baltic Sea case showed the total annual damage costs of Baltic Sea shipping to be 2.9 billion €2010 (95% CI 2.0–3.9 billion €2010). The damage costs due to impacts on marine eutrophication (768 million €2010) and marine ecotoxicity (582 million €2010) were in the same range as the total damage costs associated with reduced air quality (816 million €2010) and climate change (737 million €2010). The framework and the results from the current study can be used in future socio-economic assessments of ship emissions to prioritize cost efficient measures. The framework can be used globally but the damage costs presented on the marine environment are restricted to emissions on the Baltic Sea and Kattegat region as they are based on willingness to pay studies conducted on citizens around the Baltic Sea where eutrophication and emissions of chemicals are particularly threats to the state of the Baltic Sea.

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