Ban on heavy fuel oil in Arctic full of loopholes, environmental group says
|Toronto Star 21 Feb 2020 at 16:50|
But environmental groups say the International Maritime Organization’s proposal is so full of loopholes that heavy fuel oil will go on being burned for another decade.
“That’s an extreme timeline for something that needs to happen immediately,” said Andrew Dumbrille of the World Wildlife Fund.
On Friday, the IMO passed a draft regulation to ban the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic by 2024. But Dumbrille said the draft allows Arctic nations to exempt their own ships from following the ban for another five years.
Research by the International Council on Clean Transportation suggests most ships in the Arctic burn the fuel.
It’s considered a major spill risk because it’s so thick that it’s very difficult to clean up. Impacts from a moderate spill in Russia in 2003 were still visible in marine mammals more than a decade later.
The fuel is also a major source of black carbon, a type of soot that settles on sea ice and snow, darkening it and hastening its melt. The same research by the clean transportation council found about two-thirds of black carbon emissions attributable to Arctic shipping in 2015 was from burning heavy fuel oil.