The Clean Arctic Alliance (CAA) has urged the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ban ships from using fuels with high black carbon emissions in the Arctic region.

The request is based on the new research that found some of the blended low sulphur shipping fuels contribute to highly polluting black carbon emissions in the environment.

CAA is a global coalition of environmental organisations that support the ban on heavy fuel oil (HFO) use in the Arctic region.

Clean Arctic Alliance lead advisor Sian Prior said: “If immediate action is not taken by the International Maritime Organization, the shipping industry’s use of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), introduced to comply with the 2020 sulphur cap, will lead to a massive increase in black carbon emissions, and this will both accelerate the melting of Arctic sea ice and have a major impact on earth’s climate.”

From 1 January 2020, IMO prohibited ships from using fuel with more than 0.5% sulphur content, while the previous cap was 3.5%.

A paper submitted by Germany and Finland for the IMO’s upcoming PPR7 meeting says that the new fuels contain high percentages of aromatic compounds that can significantly increase the black carbon emissions.

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

CAA has sent a letter to the IMO consultants and the ARA, Concawe, CIMAC and JPEC. The companies are the co-authors of the Joint Industry Guidance for the sulphur cap.

In May last 2019, CAA urged IMO member states to cut black carbon emissions in the Arctic region.