Yes, in fact this was one solution that was proposed by the UK Chamber of Shipping in conjunction with the commercial airlines’ action. The proposal suggested that shipping companies be treated like a separate country and given an emissions cap, which could reduce emissions by 3%. If you want to read more about the issue, check out this article in the UK Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/sep/23/shipping-emissions
The shipping industry is far more efficient than sending goods by airplane. However, their emissions could potentially double or triple by 2050 so they are working on improving emissions already. The shipping industry could reduce emissions, as well as save money, by using kites, going slower, and getting hull upgrades.
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