ICCT: Arctic Shipping Emissions Might Increase Sixfold by 2025

A new report by the International Council on Clean Transportation finds that emissions from Arctic shipping traffic could rise 150-600 percent by 2025, the environmental group Friends of the Earth reports.

As global warming intensifies and Arctic sea ice melts, marine vessel traffic is expected to increase and amplify the levels of harmful pollution emitted into the atmosphere.

These pollutants include carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulate matter, including black carbon.

The ICCT report outlines a number of options to mitigate harm from shipping emissions in the U.S. Arctic.

Policies that could constrain growth in emissions from Arctic shipping activity include requiring cleaner (i.e., lower sulfur content) marine fuels and expanding existing emission control areas for marine vessels.

The study finds that even if vessel traffic were to double between now and 2025, switching to 0.1% sulfur fuel could reduce potential emissions in 2025 of SOX, PM, and BC by 87%, 35%, and at least 5%, respectively, relative to the 2011 levels.

John Kaltenstein, marine policy analyst at Friends of the Earth, said: ”Unrestricted and weakly regulated shipping in the Arctic paints a grim outlook for fragile polar environments and for efforts to combat climate-forcing emissions such as black carbon. In just two months, the U.S. will assume the chair of the Arctic Council, the intergovernmental forum for Arctic governments and peoples, and it will have an opportunity to push for stronger protections in the Arctic, including a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil.”