Clean Arctic Alliance Response to Arctic Council Failure to achieve Climate Change Consensus
Rovaniemi, May 8th 2019:- As this week’s Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting closes in Rovaniemi, Finland, the Clean Arctic Alliance expressed its dismay that the Arctic Council Ministerial Conference has been unable to achieve a consensus on issuing a joint declaration for the first time in its 23-year history, due to the United States refusal to support the need for collaborative action by the Arctic Council to address climate change.
“The US-government’s blatant disregard of the changes taking place in the Arctic – which has lost three-quarters of summer sea ice in the last four decades – only serves to underline the need for the Arctic nations to reaffirm their commitment to reducing black carbon emissions, through collaboration within the International Maritime Organization”, said Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance.
“It is with some relief that we note that the Statement from the Arctic Council’s Chair confirms the support for enhanced national efforts and international cooperation to reduce black carbon emissions. All eight Arctic states – the US included, must seize the opportunity during next week’s Marine Environment Protection Committee to support measures that will reduce the impact of black carbon emissions from international shipping on the Arctic, including a requirement on ships to only use lighter, cleaner fuels while in the Arctic”, said Pam Person, Director, International Cryosphere Climate Initiative.
Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, HFO-Free Arctic Campaign, Dave.Walsh@HFOFreeArctic.org, +34 691 826 764
Arctic Council Ministers meet, pass Chairmanship from Finland to Iceland, Arctic States conclude Arctic Council Ministerial meeting by signing a joint statement
Statement By The Chair, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Timo Soini, On the Occasion of the Eleventh Ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council, Rovaniemi 6-7 May 2019
“Our meeting emphasized the need for national efforts and cooperation on pollution prevention, emission reductions and conservation of biodiversity, while a majority of us particularly emphasized the need to reduce greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions and to enhance work on climate change adaptation”
Arctic Council fails to agree on declaration as US holds out on climate change
“A joint ministerial statement released in place of a declaration and signed by all eight of the participating foreign ministers did not explicitly mention climate change.”
Clean Arctic Alliance Manifesto Calls on Iceland to Take Arctic Council Leadership on Black Carbon Emissions
Black Carbon and the Arctic Council
Black carbon (BC), a harmful air pollutant, is the product of incomplete combustion of organic fuels, and contributes from 7-21% of shipping’s climate warming impact. The largest sources of BC are fossil fuel, biomass and biofuel combustion. Ships emit more BC per unit of fuel consumed than other combustion sources due to the quality of the fuel used. BC has human health impacts and is a potent climate forcer. When emitted in the Arctic, black carbon particles fall on snow, on glacier ice and sea ice, reducing their reflectivity (albedo) and increasing the absorption of heat. As multi-season sea ice recedes due to climate change, Arctic waters will open up to increased shipping – which could lead to increased black carbon emissions, fueling an already accelerating feedback loop.
The threat to the Arctic from black carbon was recognised by the Arctic Council in Iqualit in 2015, in its Framework for Action on Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emissions Reductions, which commits the Arctic countries to demonstrate leadership by reducing Black Carbon (and methane) emissions produced beyond the borders of Arctic States .
When emitted in the Arctic, black carbon particles fall on snow, on glacier ice and sea ice, reducing reflectivity and increasing the absorption of heat. As multi-season sea ice recedes due to climate change, Arctic waters will open up to increased shipping – which could lead to increased black carbon emissions, fueling an already accelerating feedback loop.
Arctic Council Black Carbon and Methane Expert Group https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/1167
The Clean Arctic Alliance is calling on International Maritime Organization Member States to prioritise the reduction of black carbon emissions from Arctic shipping, as the UN body gathers in London from May 13-17 for a meeting of its Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC74), during which a number of issues, including black carbon emissions and heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic will feature on the agenda. http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/MeetingSummaries/Pages/Default.aspx
About the Clean Arctic Alliance
The following not-for-profit organisations form the Clean Arctic Alliance, which is committed to a ban on HFO as marine fuel in the Arctic:
Alaska Wilderness League, Bellona, Clean Air Task Force, Danish Ecological Council, Ecology and Development Foundation ECODES, Environmental Investigation Agency, European Climate Foundation, Friends of the Earth US, Greenpeace, Iceland Nature Conservation Association, Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union, Ocean Conservancy, Pacific Environment, Seas At Risk, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Stand.Earth, Transport & Environment and WWF.
More more information visit https://www.hfofreearctic.org/
About the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative
ICCI is a network of senior policy experts and researchers working with governments and organizations to create, shape and implement initiatives designed to preserve as much of the Earth’s cryosphere as possible. ICCI programs target the unique climate dynamics at work in the cryosphere, while at the same time lending increased urgency to global climate efforts aimed at CO2 and other greenhouse gases by communicating the unexpected rapidity and global implications of cryosphere warming.