The Arctic heavy fuel oil ban: why the Greenland Government backs it

The Arctic heavy fuel oil ban: why the Greenland Government backs it

The Greenland Government has backed the Arctic heavy fuel oil ban proposed by the Clean Arctic Alliance.

The Greenland Government has backed the Clean Arctic Alliance’s proposal for an Arctic heavy fuel oil ban. The ban is an International Maritime Organization ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by Arctic shipping.

Kåre Press-Kristensen, the senior advisor to the Danish Ecological Council, which is a member of the Clean Arctic Alliance, said: “We applaud Greenland’s government for speaking up for the much needed protection of the Arctic’s nature and communities, by supporting the banning of the world’s most polluting fuel – heavy fuel oil. After spending time measuring air pollution from cruise ships burning HFO in Greenland this summer, I’m very relieved that Greenlandic politicians support banning it.”

In April 2018, the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee agreed to develop an Arctic heavy fuel oil ban. Heavy Fuel Oil is already banned in Antarctic waters.

Why is an Arctic heavy fuel oil ban necessary?

The summer sea ice in the Arctic is approximately half the volume of what it was in the 1970s. Twice this year, for the first time on record, the region’s strongest sea ice has broken up. Using heavy fuel oil in the Arctic increases the risk of devastating oil spills and exacerbates black carbon emissions which increases sea and glacier ice melting.

The Greenland government’s statement, translated into English, said: “A very important reason for avoiding HFO in Arctic waters is that marine casualties, which lead to waste of HFO in the marine environment, can have major environmental and economic consequences. HFO is very difficult and partly impossible to collect at low sea temperatures. Therefore, in case of major spill of HFO, there is a high risk that the oil will remain in the water for a long time or on the coasts that the oil may endanger.”

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