Inuit, small island nations aligned on reducing shipping black carbon

The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) participated virtually in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 77 meetings November 22 to 26 where important issues that impact the Arctic were discussed. As the first Indigenous organization with provisional consultative status at IMO, ICC brings unique perspectives to these discussions and welcomes new partnerships.

Dalee Sambo Dorough, ICC Chair, stated: “A major issue was aligning the IMO with the Glasgow Agreement through key steps towards decarbonizing global shipping to achieve the aspirational 1.5°C as agreed to at COP26 Climate Summit. This would include the signing of the Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration, the Clydebank Declaration, and the Declaration on Zero Emission Shipping by 2050 for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in the global shipping fleet. 

“ICC regrets that a firm commitment, despite widespread support for emission reduction by 2050 was not supported. However, a basket of mid-term measures to tackle emissions – including both a carbon levy and a fuel standard – with talks resuming in 2022 was the outcome.”

Black carbon emissions, known to be an issue in the Arctic as a climate amplifier, were also discussed with the agreement of a resolution to immediately switch away, on a voluntary basis, from hazardous and polluting heavy fuel oil to cleaner alternatives. 

With this resolution IMO members sent a clear message about the significant impacts from Black Carbon as well as the shipping sectors’ responsibility in reducing it. ICC also reaffirmed its position that Inuit in remote communities should not have to bear the costs of the transition to cleaner fuels.

In support of ICC’s positions, Jimmy Nuake, Solomon Islands Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure Development, said at the meeting, “Pacific small island developing states (SIDS) like the Solomon Islands are facing immediate issues related to climate change and we join with our Arctic brothers and sisters to call for immediate action to eliminate greenhouse gases and black carbon from the global shipping fleet.”

Lisa Koperqualuk, ICC Canada Vice-President International, stated, “ICC continues to support a sustainable Arctic fleet. Arctic shipping is critical infrastructure for Arctic communities and 90% of all global trade is by ships making this a key industry to work with in partnership to advance environmental protection. Protection of the Arctic marine environment and food security is the paramount concern”.

ICC with its provisional consultative status looks forward to working with all members but especially the small island states to call for emissions reductions in line with preventing impacts to vulnerable states and Inuit communities.

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