A Siberian Yup’ik Inuit’s perspective:
“if we fail to meet the challenge of the climate crisis, our inaction will have long-lasting impacts on the Arctic, its indigenous peoples, and the overall well-being of Earth’s climate”
“In December, my mom posted a picture showing no snow or ice in my hometown of Dillingham, Alaska. I remember Decembers growing up with feet of snow for my friends and I to play in. Our Decembers were marked by ice-skating, snowball fights, snowmobiling and ice-fishing. It was heartbreaking seeing my mom’s picture this holiday season knowing that younger generations face a future where snowy December afternoons are rare.”
“Let’s be proud in the future when we say ‘hindsight is 2020’ because we had the foresight to make the tough decisions to protect our planet and future generations. The Arctic, and our one and only Earth, are worth it.”
Well, what can ECO say! Protecting the Arctic from HFO is certainly a theme here this week. The Imavut on Monday was a wonderful opportunity to experience Arctic Indigenous culture and food firsthand. In plenary many countries spoke up about the importance of protecting Arctic people and Arctic economies – perhaps not all with the same emphasis! The biggest news has to be Canada’s announcement that it has become the 7th Arctic State to support a global ban on heavy fuel in the Arctic albeit with a delayed implementation till 2024. A working group is now tasked with developing a ban on use and carriage as fuel but there’s a lot of detail to be worked out yet – delays, exemptions, waivers are all being proposed. Eco hopes that delegates at PPR don’t end up delaying a measure so long that decarbonisation of the shipping industry has overtaken us and the IMO is sitting under meters of melted icesheets.
El Impacto del carbono negro y de los combustibles pesados en el Artico y Latino America
La Clean Arctic Alliance organizó un evento para delegaciones de Latinoamérica. Esta Alianza propone la prohibición del uso y transporte de HFO en el Ártico. La meteoróloga Mar Gómez presentó evidencia científica sobre cómo el deshielo del Ártico afecta a la región latinoamericana. La experta puso de manifiesto los costos humanos, económicos y ambientales que entraña la situación del Ártico y la urgencia de su protección frente al derrame de HFO y sus emisiones de carbono negro. Pablo Rodas- Martini, experto en industria naviera, alertó sobre los peligros de los nuevos combustibles VLSFO que, si bien cumplen con el límite de azufre, aumentan las emisiones de carbono negro. Esperemos apoyo de las delegaciones a la prohibición de HFO en la región ártica, así como a un cambio hacia combustibles destilados cuando se opere en el área.
ECO had so much fun at the IMO/ Inuit Circumpolar Council’s evening reception!
London Calling – Inuit style! Tonight we held a reception at the IMO called Imavut. Thanks to IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim for giving us his reception time. Kudos to throat singers Cynthia Pitsiulak & Annie Aningmiuq. Thanks to @CJRFund for funding assistance. #Inuit @IMOHQ pic.twitter.com/3RJ50d12IF
— ICC Canada (@ICC_Canada) February 17, 2020
Plastics in the Arctic
ECO is shocked to learn that even in the most remote Arctic areas, large amounts of plastics can be found washed up on the coastline. Luckily, Iceland -as Chair of the Arctic Council- has recognized this fact and will hold an international symposium on Arctic Marine Litter. A recent investigation by a Dutch research institute, WUR in Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, and Jan Mayen shows that plastic litter can travel long distances via ocean currents. Recognizable plastic items washed up on Svalbard predominantly consist of fishing litter. Apart from damaged fishing nets or parts of nets, the researchers found a variety of fisheries-related items such as fish boxes, strapping bands, and ropes used in fisheries.The IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships offers an opportunity to tackle fisheries litter. ECO believes that with increasing activities in the Arctic, measures to reduce input of plastic from shipping (including fisheries) in the High North should be put forward rapidly.