Black carbon (BC), the sooty black material emitted from burning heavy fuel oil (HFO), presents a special threat in the Arctic where it dramatically speeds up the melting of ice. Whereas clear, white snow and ice repeal heat from the sun’s waves, darkened, soot-covered surfaces absorb more heat and melt at an accelerated pace. This is especially concerning as Arctic Sea ice is already disappearing much faster than climate models predicted (three-times faster than the global average). The good news is that there is plenty of opportunity for impact. Black carbon remains in the atmosphere for two weeks or less, so as soon as it is banned there would be near-immediate results. Furthermore, there are numerous cleaner fuel alternatives available to ship operators. We are proud to support the Clean Arctic Alliance through Seas at Risk in their project to ban black carbon from entering EU ports, which could reduce global Black Carbon emissions by up to 90% nearly overnight.
Clean Arctic Alliance is a coalition of 20 non-profit organisations working together to persuade governments to take action to protect the Arctic, its wildlife and its people. Since its foundation in 2016, the group has published several consequential reports and lobbied international governments to improve environmental standards and conserve the Arctic. We have partnered with them this year to help ban black carbon from EU ports.