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What to expect at MEPC 76: Urgent and immediate action to protect the Arctic

MEPC, 76 which runs from 10-17 June, IMO member states are set to adopt a regulation banning the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO), which NGOs have criticised as too weak and too late – it will not be fully implemented until 2029.

The meeting will also feature a proposal for a resolution to address black carbon pollution in the Arctic, while a package of “short-term measures” on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is set to be adopted.

 The Clean Arctic Alliance is calling on IMO member states to support the adoption at MEPC 76 of a Black Carbon Resolution which calls for a voluntary switch to distillate or alternative, cleaner fuels while operating in or near the Arctic. IMO member states must also be ambitious and hold the IMO to account by adopting strong measures to reduce CO2 emissions and keep aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5oC goal.

Other issues due to be considered during MEPC 76 include the discharge of wastewater from the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems or “scrubbers” and the impact of underwater noise. Scrubbers allow the continued use of heavy fuels with a high sulphur content since the sulphur is removed from the exhaust emissions, but the wastewater from the scrubber, which also contains heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, is dumped in the ocean. The Clean Arctic Alliance is calling for the use of scrubbers to be banned in Arctic waters. 

Another issue, that of underwater noise, has not been considered by the IMO and its member states for some years and the Clean Arctic Alliance is also calling for underwater noise to be included back onto the agenda of the MEPC meeting so that consideration can be given to measures to reduce the impact.

See all NGO papers for MEPC 76


Watch MEPC 76 video: The Arctic Ocean – the Canary in the Coal Mine?

Video: World Ocean Day Webinar, The Arctic Ocean – the Canary in the Coal Mine?