• IMO progress on black carbon in Arctic ‘welcome but long overdue’

    The decision at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to recommend to its environment committee a definition of black carbon arrived at by scientific consensus, after four years of debate, has been welcomed by environmental NGO Transport & Environment. Lack of agreement at sub-committee level had been holding up technical work to calibrate and test black carbon measurement methods that could be used to evaluate control measures as well as monitoring and engine certification technology.

    Bill Hemmings, clean shipping manager at Transport & Environment, a member of the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC) that has observer status at the IMO, said: “This agreement on a definition is welcome but long overdue as increasing black carbon emissions from shipping can accelerate the melting of Arctic ice. Now the IMO can focus on evaluating which measurement technologies and control measures can be deployed.”
    Mr Hemmings concluded: “As international shipping increases, particularly near and in Arctic waters due to the accelerating ice melt opening up new shipping routes, it is imperative that the shipping industry takes measures to curb black carbon emissions. The simplest way to do this is to ban the use of heavy fuel oil, HFO, to power ships. HFO is already being phased out in certain regions and the IMO plans a worldwide ban in 2020 unless scrubber technologies are used.”