Arctic Council must show leadership on reduction of black carbon emissions from shipping, say advocates

In a letter to Morten Høglund, the chair of the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council, December 12, 2023, the Clean Arctic Alliance and its member organization, Norway-based Bellona, called on the Arctic Council to take action to reduce black carbon and greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in the Arctic. 

“Having had its activities paused for nearly two years, the Arctic Council is at an important crossroads – with projects beginning to restart, the Norwegian chair has an opportunity to steer the Council towards concrete action such as reducing climate pollutants including black carbon from shipping,” said Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance. 

“While Arctic diplomacy has paused, Arctic shipping traffic has not, with black carbon emissions doubling in recent years. According to November’s UNEP Emissions Gap Report, we are on course for nearly three degrees of warming by the end of the century, but ambitious action now to reduce black carbon emissions this decade could decrease the chances of triggering dangerous climate tipping points.”

“The world is looking to the Norwegian chair for leadership and to set a course for the duration of its chairship which will lead to concrete 2025 results,” said Sigurd Enge, Senior Advisor for shipping and arctic issues at Bellona. 

“Setting new and ambitious black carbon and greenhouse gas emission reductions targets for shipping and other sources in the Arctic is one tangible contribution that could be agreed and implemented. Along with all the members of the Clean Arctic Alliance, Bellona is calling on our Norwegian officials to make this commitment and begin the complete phase down of black carbon from shipping in the Arctic.” 

“Norway’s priorities and actions during its leadership of the Arctic Council between 2023 and 2025 will be critical to the future health of the Arctic Ocean. The time to act on Black Carbon emissions from shipping is now,” says the letter. 

“The Clean Arctic Alliance and Bellona believe that addressing emissions of black carbon from shipping impacting the Arctic is a cross-cutting issue within the framework of the Arctic Council.”

Photo credit: iStock/USO

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