Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 393

393 Arctic Yearbook 2015 the evaporation and dispersion rates are low compared to lighter, refined fuels, it may emulsify once released into the marine environment, and it is impossible to clean up in ice covered conditions and with a lack of nearby response resources and infrastructure. It has a devastating effect on marine life, particularly as Arctic marine food webs are so simple. Due in part to lack of good quality hydrogeographic data, the chance of a catastrophic spill exists, and will be magnified with projected increased Arctic shipping. The effects of a spill of HFO in polar environments are rightly feared. The carriage and use (including for ballast) of this fuel has been banned in Antarctic waters south of 60 degrees south, and around parts of the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. But it continues to be used in the Arctic as a shipping fuel, and to be transported around the Arctic for other uses. Even at 2012 levels of Arctic shipping, a report prepared for the PAME working group estimated, “…a serious accident resulting in an oil spill could on average be expected once every 1.6 years.” Black carbon produced by Arctic shipping is an important issue. Local sources of soot are known to contribute to Arctic melting, and the more local the source, the more it contributes to the problem. Although shipping is currently thought to contribute only 5% of the black carbon load in the Arctic, that could increase to 20% by 2050 according to some projections of future shipping. The eight Arctic Council states are committed to working together on black carbon issues, having signed a framework agreement in Iqaluit, Nunavut, in early 2015 that says they will, “…adopt an ambitious, aspirational and quantitative collective goal on black carbon, and to consider additional goals, by the next Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in 2017.” Whether that collective goal will include promoting actions on limiting black carbon from shipping is not yet known. F