Saturday, November 20, 2010

EU Calculates their Black Carbon Footprint in Arctic

59% of black carbon in Arctic comes from EU

Link to the Press Release, November 19th, 2010

The EU is responsible for 59% of black carbon emissions in the Arctic, according to an impact assessment discussed by a group of experts in Brussels on Thursday. It was conducted by the EU-funded Arctic Footprint and Policy Assessment Project.

The assessment looks at the EU's footprint in areas such as chemical pollution and fisheries. It shows Europe is also responsible for 57% of PCB-153 emissions. Other major impacts include imports from infrastructure-intensive industries in the Arctic.

Europe only contributes to 16% of total GHG emissions. It uses 24% of Arctic oil and gas resources, compared with 37% and 26% for Russia and the US respectively. But 60% of exports from the Arctic's infrastructure-intensive industries go to the EU.

"As a major importer of Arctic goods and a significant contributor to Arctic pollution, the EU has a critical contribution to make as Arctic states and neighbouring countries deal with both the costs and potential economic benefits as a result of climate change," said European Commission official Nicholas Hanley.

The assessment is a step forward for EU efforts to devise a comprehensive Arctic policy. The conference heard that the European Environment Agency wants to help establish a permanent Arctic observation network. The importance of the Arctic to the EU will also grow after Iceland's anticipated accession.

A number of proposals to cut Arctic impacts are put forward in the assessment. These include extending the Natura 2000 network and cutting black carbon emissions from diesel engines. The EU could also support minimum environmental standards for Arctic oil and gas extraction through a multilateral agreement.

Link to the summary of the assessment.

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