Tuesday, June 8, 2021

On World Oceans Day Comes a Chance to Discuss the Future of the Arctic

With Warming Tripling Faster Than Elsewhere Action is Needed Now
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Today (8 June) being World Oceans Day, the Clean Arctic Alliance (CAA) is marking the occasion with a webinar at 3:00 PM in Universal Time (UTC) to consider the links between shipping's black carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the 'Arctic climate crisis'.

The event not only coincides with the World Oceans Day, but also precedes the 76th meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which starts on Thursday (10 June). The CAA believes that shipping’s impact on the Arctic environment should be key to the discussions because it considers the Arctic the ‘canary in the coal mine’, giving advance warning of the dangers ahead.

The expectation is that the MEPC meeting will move forward on the ‘short term measures’ for GHG emissions reductions, including regulations regarding the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by ships in the Arctic, and also debate proposals for decarbonisation R&D funding and carbon pricing. The concern is that, as with the big ships themselves, IMO regulations, involving as they do so many countries and vested interests, often take an inordinate amount of time from discussion to enforcement.

At the end of May, Arctic Foreign Ministers announced that the Arctic is now warming three times faster than the planet as a whole. Sea ice, glaciers, permafrost and the Greenland ice sheet are decreasing rapidly due to global heating, leading to global impacts such as sea-level rise and extreme weather patterns.

The Arctic climate crisis requires urgent action to rapidly reduce both carbon dioxide and black carbon emissions from all sources including international shipping. Greenhouse gas emissions, along with black carbon emissions, from shipping are undoubtedly contributing to Arctic warming.

Registration for the webinar can be made HERE.

Photo: Courtesy of the 90 North Foundation.