Coalition calls on IMO to eliminate black carbon in Arctic shipping

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The Clean Arctic Alliance has called on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to make immediate cuts to black carbon emissions from shipping in the Arctic, and to urgently reduce black carbon emissions globally.

It is a coalition of non-profit groups committed to the elimination of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as marine fuel in the Arctic.

The Alliance was responding to the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. The report warns “transformational change is needed at all levels: individual, communities, business, institutions and governments”.

The Alliance also called for inclusion of a 1.5 degree-compatible seven percent annual improvement in carbon intensity in the IMO’s new short-term measure, and for the United Nations international shipping body to revise its climate targets to ensure full decarbonization of shipping well before 2050.

Earlier this year, Arctic foreign ministers announced that the Arctic has already warmed by three degrees. The IPCC climate report concludes that warming of 1.5 degrees and two degrees will be exceeded globally during the 21st century unless deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur by 2030.

Arctic sea ice, glacier loss, and Greenland ice sheet loss are included amongst the most certain and severe impacts of global heating, while polar ice sheet loss and sea level rise present some of the greatest threats.

“The IPCC findings make the levels of climate ambition and timelines currently on the table for shipping at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) totally inadequate. It is imperative that measures due for adoption later this year be strengthened to ensure they drive fast deep cuts in CO2 and black carbon emissions from ships, especially those visiting the Arctic,” said Clean Arctic Alliance lead advisor Sian Prior.

“International shipping is not outside of the Paris Agreement, which covers economy-wide climate pollutants. One-fifth of shipping’s climate-forcing emissions come from black carbon, and four-fifths from CO2, while impacts of black carbon emissions from ships in and near the Arctic are disproportionately greater than other black carbon emissions. Cutting these emissions, especially its deposition onto Arctic snow and ice, will halt its warming impact virtually immediately.”

The alliance wants the IMO, Arctic member countries, and international shipping to ramp up “ambition and urgency” when the IMO marine environment protection committee meets this November. Specifically it requests the IMO

  • immediately cut black carbon emissions from shipping in the Arctic, and urgently reduce black carbon emissions globally;
  • include a 1.5 degree-compatible seven percent annual improvement in carbon intensity in the new short-term climate measure;
  • revise its climate targets to ensure full decarbonization of international shipping well before 2050.

The following not-for-profit organizations form the Clean Arctic Alliance: 90 North Unit, The Altai Project, Alaska Wilderness League, Bellona, Clean Air Task Force, Green Transition Denmark, Ecology and Development Foundation ECODES, Environmental Investigation Agency, European Climate Foundation, Friends of the Earth US, Global Choices, Greenpeace, Iceland Nature Conservation Association, International Cryosphere Climate Initiative, Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union, Ocean Conservancy, Pacific Environment, Seas At Risk, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Stand.Earth, Transport & Environment and WWF.