MEPC 62 special: Will IMO limit black carbon emissions from ships?
12th July 2011 08:27 GMT

This week the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will consider the issue of black carbon emissions from shipping.  

The topic is not a new one for the Organization as papers on black carbon have been submitted to MEPC and various IMO subcommittees over the past several years, yet it finally seems like substantive discussions could take place.

The timing of this debate is apt, since blue ribbon reports on black carbon have been released in the last year by an expert group of the Executive Body for the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution and the United Nations Environment Programme.  

Further, a multitude of recent studies provide Arctic shipping-focused assessments on black carbon emissions, detailing regional inventories, oil and gas and transit traffic (see Peters et al.), climatic effects, and cost-effective mitigation options.  In addition, Norway and South Korea each have submitted documents to MEPC on next steps in addressing black carbon from international shipping.    
With respect to specifics on recent studies, Green et al. found that black carbon and particulate organic matter from shipping above 40° N will be responsible for about 6,200 premature deaths in 2012.  

Tsigaridis and Koch showed that warming effects in the Arctic of black carbon emissions from ships operating above 40° N are projected to double by 2030.  Corbett et al. (2010a) demonstrated that, under a high-growth scenario, black carbon levels from shipping activity in the Arctic in 2030 would be five times what they were in 2004.  However, it also found that, if maximum feasible reduction controls were applied, black carbon levels would be only 1.5 times 2004 levels by 2030.  

Finally, Corbett et al. (2010b) showed that a 60% reduction in black carbon emissions from Arctic shipping could be attained at less than $10 per metric tonne CO2 equivalent (over 20 years) via a combination of available technologies.  

The IMO has before it an excellent opportunity to simultaneously combat serious harm to human health and the climate in a cost-effective manner by reducing black carbon emissions from Arctic and near-Arctic shipping.  

While important decisions will likely be made about controlling greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, this does not relieve MEPC from engaging on the issue of black carbon at this week’s meeting.  Punting on the issue, yet again, would cast into doubt the IMO’s environmental leadership and resolve, especially in light of overwhelming, and authoritative, calls for action.

John Kaltenstein,
12th July 2011 08:27 GMT

Comments on this Blog
Richard Kassel - Gladstein, Neandross & Associates
14th July 2011
Nice summary. The key take-away here for MEPC participants is in the bottom half of your piece:

1) If steps are taken, BC emissions in 2030 will be 1.5 times their 2004 levels, not 5 times higher.
2) A 60% reduction in BC could be achieved at a cost of only $10/metric ton (CO2-eq).

I'll also add that this is a "no-regrets" strategy: even if there was no climate benefit AT ALL to reducing BC (which isn't the case), these investments are also worth it b/c of the public health benefits that come along with the BC reductions.
Goran Jonsson - Pacific Petroleum Ltd
19th January 2012
I will again post a comment on black smoke emission after 10 years.
Greece sent a proposat to MEPC on how to reduce the PM emission up to 80% and at no cost.
Since then the Swedish Sjofartsverket ( ministry of merchantile marine) has posted the proposal on their website.
You can find it and

Goran Jonsson.
Heinz Otto
23rd January 2012
Hi Goran Jonsson,
you can post as much as you want to sell your "PP3-F FUEL OIL ADDITIVE, because it results to a minimum of reducing-rates. As we all know, the rise of new ships is taller, as your system can help. It is the same problem with Joshua Waldhorn, he also wants to sell "the soluton".
HI Rich Kassel, yes, each little step of reducing BC is helpfull to the public health, also the struggle of the IMO, BUT:
this program is a longtime-system. The situation now is the result of a 40-years-working period, so we have to reduce now, But how?
Give yourself more pressure to act, if you read the report-116 of the . Page 12 of 30 shows the problem. First step to my point of view might be, to build Bulkers with a rig similar to the dynarig of wilhelm prölss, he developed in the 60-s of last century - check, it helps, to speak with John Kaltenstein and his friends of the earth, it is also your and mine world.
All the best from Heinz Otto

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