Dear Secretary General,
As you have witnessed from your own personal travels to the region, the climate crisis in the Arctic is real and rapidly deteriorating with potentially disastrous consequences for the Arctic ecosystem, natural habitats and for Indigenous communities. During your tenure as Secretary General, you have been a strong advocate for the Arctic, overseeing the IMO secure status at the Arctic Council and the first Arctic Indigenous group being awarded provisional Consultative Status at the IMO.
The Clean Arctic Alliance, which includes members with Consultative Status at the IMO, is writing to appeal to you personally to call on all IMO members to now treat the Arctic climate crisis with the urgency that it demands. Next week the IMO’s Pollution Prevent & Response sub-committee meets, the 13th time that this sub-committee and its predecessor have done so, to consider the need for regulation and control of black carbon emissions from ships which impact the Arctic. Mandating one immediate step – a switch to distillate fuels by ships operating in and near the Arctic – will result in rapid and significant reductions in emissions of black carbon.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group II report (2022) addressing climate change impact, adaptation, and vulnerability, drew attention to a cascading web of local, regional and global impacts within and beyond polar regions. Rapid warming and extreme temperatures in the Arctic are leading to unprecedented seasonal ice loss, permafrost thaw and increasing ocean temperatures. The Arctic climate crisis has consequences for all of us, not least the catastrophic impact of global sea level rise resulting from receding ice sheets, but also the disruption of the global climate regulatory system and other ecological processes. The IPCC 6th Assessment Report, published last month, concludes that without rapid, deep and sustained mitigation and accelerated adaptation actions, losses and damages will continue to increase, including projected adverse impacts in Africa, LDCs, SIDS, Central and South America, Asia and the Arctic.
The Clean Arctic Alliance believes that your leadership and commitment to the protection of the Arctic can set the scene at PPR 10 for long-overdue progress on reaching agreement on immediate measures to reduce shipping emissions of black carbon which impact the Arctic.
The urgency for action will be underscored by a side event on Tuesday, organised by the Clean Arctic Alliance (hosted by members FOEI and Pacific Environment). The lunchtime event will showcase updated analysis highlight a doubling of black carbon emissions from ships in the Arctic between 2015 and 2021, along with perspectives from Arctic Indigenous communities and Pacific Islanders. I do hope that you can join us?
Dr Sian Prior
Clean Arctic Alliance