KPLU at the U.N. Climate Conference in Cancun

Dec 6, 2010

This week, delegates from nearly 200 countries are trying to wrap up their work at the successor to last year's climate conference in Copenhagen. And I'm one of about 2,000 journalists from around the world who are here to cover the event.

I've spent most of the morning weaving my way through checkpoints of armed Federales. The security here is squeaky-tight. which makes getting around between the widely spread-out conference venues a time-consuming challenge.

So far, I've gotten credentialed, and I'm about to hop onto a shuttle that's supposed to take me to another part of the conference. I'm hoping to check in on a new report by a group called the Carbon War Room. They say they've compiled a comprehensive data base of the carbon foot-print of the world's shipping fleet.

Those 60,000 tankers, bulkers, container ships and others account for an estimated gigaton (that's a thousand million tons) of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere annually. That's more than the entire output of Germany.

Given that Seattle and the Pacific Northwest are big shipping destinations, a catalog of which ships are most energy efficient -- and which are dirtiest -- could help cut the emissions from this economically important sector.