The LPDD team is very proud to announce the publication of two new model laws relating to reduction of carbon in Arctic shipping, as recommended in Chapter 17 of the LPDD text.
The first of the current bills is the Reduction of Black Carbon Emissions from Arctic Shipping Act and the second is the Reduction of Arctic Shipping Emissions that Lead to Warming Act. They would regulate the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as well as GHG emissions in the Arctic by ships stopping at ports of call in the US, including through the imposition of civil and criminal penalties, a portion of which would go to the whistleblowers, and revocation of clearance or permits for transit, filling a gap in existing law.
On the Black Carbon Model Law, which is available to view here:
As new shipping lanes emerge in the Arctic, the potential harms attributable to black carbon emissions — which coats the surrounding ice surface black and accordingly increases the rate of heat absorption over ice — increases. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has stated that half the present rise in Arctic temperature could be due to black carbon emissions. There exists, however, a stark gap in international law addressing this pollutant.
The jurisdictional framework under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) delineates State maritime authorities, including the rules regarding Port State jurisdiction, which address a Port State’s ability to condition entry to its ports. This model law relies on Port State jurisdiction to impose emissions rules on ships that dock in the United States.
The model law’s prohibition of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) as fuel in the Arctic (for ships that depart or call at U.S. ports) will lead to an immediate decrease in black carbon emissions from those ships. The lifecycle climate impact will also be reduced, both by the reduction in black carbon and in the use of distillate fuels rather than HFO. In addition, an HFO ban on ships calling at or departing from U.S. ports will lessen the risk of an HFO spill in the Arctic, as an HFO spill there would have devastating consequences. Notably the model law goes farther and faster than a similar HFO ban currently under consideration at the IMO.
Additionally, for ships utilizing distillate fuel, the model law requires the addition of a diesel particulate filter, which will drastically reduce black carbon emission levels. The model law phases in the filter requirement, after the required switch to distillate fuel. The expectation is that compliance will be shown through a survey of the ship and an authorized certificate issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as ship certification.
On the Reduction of Arctic Shipping Emissions Act, which is available to view here:
This model law would require a ship in the Arctic to use a fuel gradually lowering lifecycle climate emissions, if the ship will enter or depart from a U.S. port within the year, effectively phasing out the use of HFOs in Arctic shipping. This model law also relies on Port State jurisdiction to impose emissions rules on ships that dock in the United States.
Here, distillate fuels serve as a bridge fuel. The model law requires a phased reduction in the lifecycle climate emissions in fuels. The reduction of lifecycle climate emissions is consistent with the urgency set forth in the Paris Agreement and its related decision document, and consistent with the IMO Initial GHG strategy. The phased reduction is modeled in part on the renewable fuel program of the Clean Air Act, modified to circumstances of maritime shipping. The model law’s phased dates would allow technologies to develop. In addition, it seems possible to mix fuels to meet lifecycle reductions. Due to the model law’s credit provisions, the percent lifecycle reduction can vary, as more lifecycle reduction than needed could establish a credit, and vice versa.
These laws are part of a quartet of recent LPDD Model Laws addressing shipping emissions, also including an emissions reporting model law published last year, as well as a model Arctic shipping tax law.
These outstanding contributions to the LPDD implementation project were drafted by Mary Capdeville. Peer reviewing was contributed by Aoife O’Leary, author of Chapter 17 of the LPDD text, as well as James Murray, and Bryan Comer of the International Council on Clean Transportation.