The Clean Arctic Alliance has issued a call for international shipping operators and national governments to cut maritime black carbon emissions.
Black carbon particles are predominantly produced by ships burning heavy fuel oil; when black carbon is released by vessels operating in the Arctic region, the particles reduce the reflectivity of ice and snow – the resulting heat absorption accelerates the rate of warming across the Arctic. Black carbon emissions represent both the second largest contributor to global warming and a significant health hazard to humans. The Clean Arctic Alliance, a collective of non-profit bodies advocating an end to the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO), is calling on International Maritime Organisation (IMO) member states to agree on measures to ensure the reduction of maritime black carbon emissions at this year’s meeting of the Marine Environmental Protection Committee, which begins today.
Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said. “By cutting ship-sourced emissions of black carbon, IMO member states could take a quick and effective path to countering the current climate crisis; and minimise further impacts on the Arctic. We’re calling on IMO member states to champion a move away from using heavy fuel oils – shipping’s number one source of black carbon – in Arctic waters. With cleaner shipping fuels already available and innovation and ambition driving the global shipping industry towards lower emissions, IMO member states must move rapidly towards zero emission solutions.
“All eight Arctic countries made a commitment to demonstrate leadership on black carbon in 2015 – and it now seems that all except Canada are backing a move away from heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. As recent comments from Russia’s President Putin and Finland’s President Niinistö demonstrate, the political will for a HFO Free Arctic exists – now it is the time for IMO member states to turn this will into action, by moving urgently to reduce black carbon emissions and by backing the ban on the use and carriage of HFO in the Arctic, currently under development.”