Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 88

88 Arctic Yearbook 2015 for funding sufficient for monitoring and clean up. Indeed, it was unclear as to whether AEPS, and later the Arctic Council (AC), would garner the required pan-Arctic political attention and financial commitment required to deal with the “serious consequences of transboundary environmental issues” (VanderZwaag, Huebert & Ferrara 2002:2). According to a 2002 report, the AC had “largely involved studying and talking about environmental problems with little concrete action,” and noted, “between 1994 and 1996, AMAP was allocated only $ 3,875,200” (ibid: 9). While in principle all Arctic Council member states have, since inception, committed to environmental protection in the Arctic, the Council remains soft law-based, focused on developing non-legally binding guidelines and recommendations (ibid). Such is the case with black carbon and methane emissions reductions. Indeed, the Iqaluit 2015 SAO (Senior Arctic Officials) Report to Ministers, Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emissions Reductions: An Arctic Council Framework for Action, Annex 4 (Arctic Council 2015a), outlines the agreed upon voluntary actions expected of Arctic states and realized “through the development of national actions or action plans or mitigation strategies, which can include setting of aims and objectives, implementing policies and regulations, identifying best practices and awareness-raising activities.” But the Council Framework indirectly acknowledges that action is a long-term process, thus seeks to “promote enhanced action over time” (ibid). Furthermore, the Framework encourages other stakeholders, including civil society, other governments, financial institutions and academia to play a key role in helping to reduce emissions and seeks to “encourage mainstreaming of considerations of these emissions into their broader funding decisions” (ibid). Short-lived climate forcers: the role of black carbon Environmental issues have remained at the forefront of Arctic cooperation, first through AEPS and now through the Arctic Council (AC). Indeed, the AC has gained considerable recognition for their science-driven reports, most notably the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (2004). To address the issue of short-lived climate forcers (SLCF) the 2009 Tromsø Declaration launched the Task Force on ShortLived Climate Forcers. The resulting report, Recommendations to Reduce Black Carbon and Methane Emissions to Slow Arctic Climate Change (2013) concluded, “Immediate reductions in black carbon and methane can slow Arctic warming over the next few decades”, but that simultaneous carbon dioxide (CO 2) emission reductions are critical to “preventing dangerous levels of climate change over the long term” (2). Based on these findings the Task Force for Action on Black Carbon and Methane (TFBCM) was established at the 2013 Kiruna Ministerial Meeting with the mandate to develop actionable arrangements to achieve reductions of black carbon (BC) and methane in the Arctic. As a 2013 scientific study confirmed, the impact of present BC emissions is considerable but that antecedent conditions can be traced back to industrialization. In what is hailed as a ‘landmark’ scientific study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres (2013) the direct impact of BC is twice that of previous assessments. According to the study, BC, a leading cause of global warming second only to CO2 emissions, is found to have a direct negative impact on snow, ice, and cloud effects (International Geosphere 2013). This would seem contrary to the AC Task Force on Short-lived Climate Forcers Recommendations to Reduce Black Carbon and Methane Emissions (2013: 2), which states “Methane is Arctic Council Environmental Initiatives