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NGOs call out PPR's 'lack of commitment' towards black carbon

Move towards 2020 sulphur cap enforcement welcomed by Clean Arctic Alliance.



HFO-free Arctic logo. Image credit: Clean Arctic Alliance


Updated on 14 Feb 2018 16:33 GMT

The Clean Arctic Alliance - a coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) - has responded to the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) move towards a ban on the carriage of marine fuel with sulphur content above 0.5 percent by welcoming the 2020 implementation but voicing its "disappointment" that at last week's fifth meeting of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) there was a perceived "lack of commitment" to deal with the issue of black carbon in the Arctic.

Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, remarked: "The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes the 2020 sulphur ban, which should drive a switch away from the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) towards lighter alternatives - and result in less black carbon released in the Arctic environment," said Prior. "However, while the sulphur cap will reduce the amount of heavy fuel oil being used anywhere - including in the Arctic - it will not eliminate it completely. We're calling on the IMO to make progress towards a ban on HFO at this April's MEPC meeting, to protect the Arctic from the world's dirtiest fuel."

At PPR5 in London, draft amendments to the MARPOL Convention were agreed upon limiting the sulphur content of fuel after January 1, 2020, along with a reporting protocol for voluntary studies to collect black carbon data and on the best black carbon measurement methods for data collection.

Prior said: "The Clean Arctic Alliance is disappointed with the lack of commitment to start discussions of measures for dealing with black carbon impacts on the Arctic during PPR5. That said, exploring the issue intersessionally should allow member states to consider the various abatement measures on the table, and hopefully rule out those that are neither appropriate or feasible."

Commenting on the issue of black carbon, Prior also said recently: "As well as reducing SOx emissions, a switch by all ships from residual or heavy fuels to lighter or distillate fuels can be expected to reduce black carbon (BC) by more than half, though the reductions will be lower if ships switch from residual fuels to blends of residual and lighter fuels. Between 2013 and 2015, global shipping emitted on average 77 kilo-tonnes of BC annually.BC is a potent, relatively short-lived, climate forcing agent with a Global Warming Potential 3200 times stronger than CO2. When emitted and deposited on Arctic snow or ice, the climate warming effect of BC is at least five times more than when emitted over open ocean in temperate latitudes."






Related Links:

Record Northern Sea Route volume prompts fresh call for HFO ban
NGOs welcome IMO action on mitigating Arctic HFO risk
EU Arctic resolution vote calls for HFO ban
MEPs push for Arctic HFO ban

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