20 August 2019
Clean Arctic Alliance’s Lead Advisor, Dr Sian Prior and Árni Finnsson from the Iceland Nature Conservation Association are calling on the Nordic Prime Ministers and the German Federal Chancellor to support the call for a ban on heavy fuel oil in the Arctic at their gathering in Reykjavik, Iceland today.
“We urgently need a strong commitment from the Nordic Prime Ministers and Ms Merkel to ban the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil or HFO in the Arctic,” says Prior. “This is an essential and easy first step to contribute to reducing the warming we are currently experiencing in the Arctic, and to remove the risk of devastating HFO spills. Better protection for the Arctic against the impact of increasing shipping and other developments in the region is essential for the future of the Arctic ecosystem, and the communities and wildlife which depend on the clean snow and ice habitats”.
Finnsson adds “This summer we have measured the emissions from cruise ships in Iceland and shown how polluting the burning of HFO can be. We need to ban HFO use and carriage in the Arctic and extend the ban to cover all of Iceland’s waters to protect our own ecosystems and the health of our people.”
HFO is the dirtiest form of fuel used by ships operating in the Arctic. Not only is HFO virtually impossible to clean-up in the event of a spill, when it is burnt as fuel in ships’ engines, black carbon is emitted into the atmosphere along with other pollutants. When the black carbon settles out from the atmosphere onto snow and ice, it speeds up melting and leads to the absorption of more heat from the sun into the Arctic.
The Nordic Prime Ministers and German Federal Chancellor will hold a working lunch meeting which is expected to discuss measures to combat climate change and other global trends.