The Clean Arctic Alliance (CAA) has urged member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to cut the impact of black carbon emissions from global shipping on the Arctic environment.

The CAA will be highlighting the issue in a meeting with the IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC74), which is scheduled to take place in London, UK.

During the meeting, the member states will discuss various maritime issues such as black carbon emissions and heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic.

According to CAA, ships use black carbon-emitting HFO, which is a potent short-lived climate forcer that remains in the atmosphere for a few days to weeks.

When emitted from ships burning heavy fuel in or near Arctic waters, and when particles fall on ice or snow, black carbon reduces its albedo (reflectivity) causing it to absorb more heat. This accelerates the warming of the Arctic region.

Black carbon is found to be the second leading cause of global warming and is also harmful to human health.

Clean Arctic Alliance lead advisor Sian Prior said: “By cutting ship-sourced emissions of black carbon, IMO member states could take a quick and effective path to countering the current climate crisis, and minimise further impacts on the Arctic.

“We’re calling on IMO member states to champion a move away from using heavy fuel oils – shipping’s number one source of black carbon – in Arctic waters.

"We’re calling on IMO member states to champion a move away from using heavy fuel oils."

“With cleaner shipping fuels already available and innovation and ambition driving the global shipping industry towards lower emissions, IMO member states must move rapidly towards zero-emission solutions.”

In April last year, during MEPC 72, Finland, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the US, co-sponsored a strongly worded proposal to ban HFO as shipping fuel from Arctic waters. The ban is currently being developed within the IMO.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier warned that we have just 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe.