For hundreds of years, the sea ice in the Arctic has been a natural barrier to international shipping routes across the top of the globe — protecting the wildlife that make the chilly waters of the Arctic their home. But as Arctic sea ice continues to melt, interest in international shipping routes through remote Arctic waters is growing — and the consequences could lead to disaster.
More international ship traffic in Arctic waters increases safety and environmental risks, including potential impacts to the cultural practices and food security of Arctic indigenous peoples.
#DYK these 3 dirty facts about vessel traffic?
- Ship engines produce climate-changing pollutants, including black carbon and carbon dioxide.
- International shipping emissions are now responsible for roughly 3% of the world's greenhouse gases (GHGs).
- If international shipping were a country, it would be the 6th-biggest greenhouse gas emitter.
Unless action is taken, experts predict shipping emissions will increase and could account for upwards of 17% of GHGs by 2050. But—with your help — that could be changing.
Take action to urge the Biden administration to update the United States climate commitments and align with the ambition of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. We need to plan for at least a 50% reduction in emissions over 2005 levels by 2030 and to decarbonize shipping completely by 2035. There is so much all of us can do to help protect the Arctic. Will you join us in taking action today?
Dear President Biden,
The Arctic Ocean and its coastal seas are facing the impacts of climate change two to three times faster as other areas on the planet. As a result, melting sea ice is making new Arctic shipping routes more accessible to large vessels.
International shipping, which emits roughly 3% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, is already accelerating this sea ice habitat loss. These emissions, and increasing international ship traffic in the Arctic, are putting wildlife and Arctic communities at greater risk from oil spills and other pollution.
Climate change and its impacts to the Arctic are not an opportunity to exploit through new international shipping routes, but are instead a global issue we all must take action to address.
As an ocean supporter and a concerned public citizen, I am urging you to update the United States climate commitments and align with the ambition of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. We need to plan for at least a 50% reduction in emissions from the shipping sector over 2005 levels by 2030 and to decarbonize shipping completely by 2035.
A zero-emission future is possible for the shipping sector and the United States can and should be a leader to get us there. As you consider investments in infrastructure as part of your Build Back Better agenda to create jobs and fight climate change, I ask that you ensure that the shipping sector and our nation's ports are part of the zero and low carbon solutions.
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