Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 March 2018
Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) – in particular, black carbon and methane – is a promising option for slowing global and regional warming in the short term, while at the same time reducing local air pollution. This mitigation opportunity seems to be particularly relevant in the Arctic context. The article provides a comprehensive overview and a critical assessment of the state of international law and governance relevant to the reduction of SLCP emissions in the Arctic. The article demonstrates that current legal and governance regimes for reducing SLCP emissions in the Arctic are complex and fragmented, which raises questions about the scope for this option for climate change and air pollution mitigation to reach its full potential. Nevertheless, the article concludes that fragmentation in this policy domain is of a cooperative or synergistic nature and therefore not problematic, provided that greater harmonization of legal instruments and enhanced cooperation between institutions are achieved. It also suggests options for strengthening international law and governance on SLCPs. Although the focus of the article is regional, many of its conclusions are relevant for the global regulation of SLCPs.
We would like to thank Harro van Asselt and Sabaa Khan from the Centre for Climate, Energy and Environmental Law of the University of Eastern Finland, Sunday Leonard from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and two anonymous reviewers for TEL for their helpful comments on earlier drafts. This research is part of the research project ‘Keeping the Arctic White: Regulatory Options for Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in the Arctic’, funded by the Academy of Finland (Decision 285389).
1 Geneva (Switzerland), 16 Nov. 1979, in force 16 Mar. 1983, available at: http://www.unece.org/env/lrtap/lrtap_h1.htm.
2 Gothenburg (Sweden), 30 Nov. 1999, in force 15 May 2005, available at: http://www.unece.org/env/lrtap/multi_h1.html.
4 Kyoto (Japan), 11 Dec. 1997, in force 16 Feb. 2005, available at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.pdf.
5 Paris (France), 12 Dec. 2015, in force 4 Nov. 2016, available at: http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php.
6 Montreal (Canada), 16 Sept. 1987, in force 1 Jan. 1989, available at: http://ozone.unep.org/en/treaties-and-decisions/montreal-protocol-substances-deplete-ozone-layer.
7 Some of these countries also cooperate bilaterally on SLCPs; e.g., in 2016 the US and Canada announced joint efforts to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas systems. However, the future of this initiative is unclear under the current US president Donald Trump: see Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, ‘Climate Deregulation Tracker’ (2017), available at: http://columbiaclimatelaw.com/resources/climate-deregulation-tracker; R. Gasper & M. Frankel, ‘With New Joint Announcement with Canada, US Gets Serious about Cutting Methane Emissions’, World Resources Institute, 1 Mar. 2016, available at: http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/03/new-joint-announcement-canada-us-gets-serious-about-cutting-methane-emissions.
8 For an overview of academic literature, see M.A. Young, ‘Fragmentation’, University of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 699, 15 Dec. 2014, available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2538247. The seminal study is International Law Commission (ILC), Study Group on the Fragmentation of International Law, Fragmentation of International Law: Difficulties Arising from the Diversification and Expansion of International Law; Finalized by Martti Koskenniemi (ILC, 2006).
9 See Anton, D.K., ‘“Treaty Congestion” in International Environmental Law’, in S. Alam et al. (eds), Routledge Handbook of International Environmental Law (Routledge, 2012), pp. 651–665 Google Scholar; van Asselt, H., ‘Managing the Fragmentation of International Environmental Law: Forests at the Intersection of the Climate and Biodiversity Regimes’ (2011) 44(4) New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, pp. 1205–1278 Google Scholar.
13 Khan analyses the work of the Arctic Council on SLCPs but does not cover other instruments and initiatives: Khan, S.A., ‘The Global Commons through a Regional Lens: The Arctic Council on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants’ (2017) 6(1) Transnational Environmental Law, pp. 131–152 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Others have reflected on specific pollutants: e.g. Cavazos-Guerra, C., Lauer, A. & Rosenthal, E., ‘Clean Air and White Ice: Governing Black Carbon Emissions Affecting the Arctic’, in K. Keil & S. Knecht (eds), Governing Arctic Change (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 231–256 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
15 Ibid., p. 15.
17 Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Summary for Policy-Makers: Arctic Climate Issues 2015 (AMAP, 2015), p. 2.
18 Ibid., p. 8.
19 Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K. & Meyer, L.A. (eds), Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (IPCC, 2014), p. 20Google Scholar.
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21 UNEP/WMO, Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone: Summary for Decision Makers (UNEP/WMO, 2011), p. 172 Google Scholar.
22 Ibid., p. 262.
23 UNEP, Near-Term Climate Protection and Clean Air Benefits: Actions for Controlling Short-Lived Climate Forcers (UNEP, 2011)Google Scholar, Executive Summary, p. xii.
24 AMAP, n. 17 above, p. 10.
25 Edenhofer, O. et al., ‘Technical Summary’, in O. Edenhofer et al. (eds), Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 33–110 Google Scholar, at 45.
26 AMAP, n. 17 above, p. 4.
27 Myhre, G. et al., ‘Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing’, in T. Stocker et al. (eds), Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 659–740 Google Scholar, at 714.
28 This is explained by the Arctic amplification of climate change: AMAP, n. 17 above, p. 8.
29 Ibid., p. 4.
30 Ibid., p. 8.
31 Ibid., p. 6.
33 Ibid., p. 10.
36 Arctic Council Task Force on SLCPs, ‘An Assessment of Emissions and Mitigation Options for Black Carbon for Arctic Council: Technical Summary’, Apr. 2011, available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/bitstream/handle/11374/1612/3_1_ACTF_Report_02May2011_v2.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y Google Scholar.
38 AMAP, n. 17 above, p. 9.
39 Ibid., p. 12.
40 Ibid., p. 9.
41 AMAP, AMAP Assessment 2015: Black Carbon and Ozone as Arctic Climate Forcers (AMAP, 2015), p. 86 Google Scholar.
45 AMAP, n. 17 above, p. 11.
48 Andersen, S.O., Depledge, J. & Brack, D., A Global Response to HFCs through Fair and Effective Ozone and Climate Policies (Royal Institute for International Affairs, 2014), p. 2 Google Scholar.
49 Ibid, p. 3.
50 Legal and policy developments are reflected as of 15 June 2017.
51 N. 2 above.
53 These revisions incorporate the Protocol’s amendments into EU law: Directive (EU) 2016/2284 on the Reduction of National Emissions of Certain Atmospheric Pollutants, amending Directive 2003/35/EC and repealing Directive 2001/81/EC  OJ L 344/1; Byrne, ibid.
54 Gothenburg Protocol, n. 2 above, Art. 2.2; see also Art. 3.1.
55 ‘Guidelines for Reporting Emissions and Projections Data under the CLRTAP’, UN Doc. ECE/EB.AIR/125, 13 Mar. 2014.
56 Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane, Summary of Progress and Recommendations (Arctic Council, 2017), p. 14, available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/1936.
57 Gothenburg Protocol, n. 2 above, Art. 2.1.
61 Relevant guidance was adopted in 2015: ‘Guidance Document on Control Techniques for Emissions of Sulphur, NOx, VOC, and Particulate Matter (including PM10, PM2.5 and Black Carbon) from Stationary Sources’, UN Doc. ECE/EB.AIR/117, 23 Jan. 2015.
62 The so-called Doha amendment of 2012, which introduced new emissions reduction targets for the second commitment period from 2013 to 2020, is yet to enter into force, pending ratification by three-quarters of the parties.
63 The US has never ratified the Kyoto Protocol and Canada withdrew from it during the first commitment period in 2005. Russia is still party to the Protocol but does not participate in its second commitment period.
64 The White House, ‘Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord’, 1 June 2017, available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/01/statement-president-trump-paris-climate-accord.
65 The Russian government recently indicated that ratification is planned around 2019: P. Tarasenko, E. Chernenko & A. Davydova, ‘Буря после дури’ (transliteration ‘Burya posle duri’ [‘Storm after Folly’]), Kommersant, 6 Mar. 2017, available at: https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3317347?query=%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%BA%D0%BE%20%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%BA%D0%BE%20%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%B2%D1%8B%D0%B4%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B0 (in Russian).
66 The rules for implementing the Paris Agreement are currently under negotiation.
67 Paris Agreement, n. 5 above, Art. 4.2.
68 We have made the same argument in the context of fossil fuel subsidies in H. van Asselt & K. Kulovesi, ‘Seizing the Opportunity: Tackling Fossil Fuel Subsidies under the UNFCCC’ (2017) 17(3) International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, pp. 357–70,
69 INDC SLCP Summaries (CCAC Secretariat and Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, 2016), available at: http://www.ccacoalition.org/en/news/15-countries-address-slcps-and-air-pollution-part-their-indcs.
70 Paris Agreement, n. 5 above, Art. 14.
71 Decision 1/CP.21, ‘Adoption of the Paris Agreement’, UN Doc. FCCC/CP/2015/10/Add.1, 29 Jan. 2016, Art. 100.
72 Decision 1/CP.19, ‘Further Advancing the Durban Platform’, UN Doc. FCCC/CP/2013/10/Add.1, 31 Jan. 2014, Art. 5a.
73 One of the past meetings addressed non-CO2 gases; see: http://unfccc.int/focus/mitigation/technical_expert_meetings/items/8179.php.
74 Sands & Peel, n. 58 above, p. 265.
75 Ibid., p. 271.
76 For a comprehensive overview of the topic, see Kim, R.E. & van Asselt, H., ‘Global Governance: Problem-Shifting in the Anthropocene and the Limits of International Law’, in Morgera & Kulovesi n. 16 above, pp. 473–495 Google Scholar.
78 UNEP, ‘Frequently Asked Questions relating to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol’, 17 Feb. 2017, available at: http://ozone.unep.org/sites/ozone/files/pdfs/FAQs_Kigali_Amendment.pdf.
79 Six indigenous peoples’ organizations are considered ‘permanent participants’ and must be consulted before decisions are taken. Non-Arctic countries as well as intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can participate in the work of the Arctic Council as observers. For an overview of the history and work of the Arctic Council, see Koivurova, T. & VanderZwaag, D., ‘The Arctic Council at 10 Years: Retrospect and Prospects’ (2007) 40(1) University of British Columbia Law Review, pp. 121–194 Google Scholar, available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1860308.
81 ‘The Arctic Council: A Backgrounder’, 20 May 2015 (updated 3 Jan. 2018), available at: http://www.arctic-council.org/index.php/en/about-us.
82 Fairbanks, AK (US), 11 May 2017, available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/1916.
83 Arctic Council Task Force on SLCPs, ‘Progress Report and Recommendations for Ministers’, 2011, p. 1, available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/79.
84 Arctic Council Task Force on SLCPs, ‘Recommendations to Reduce Black Carbon and Methane Emissions to Slow Arctic Climate Change’, 2013, available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/80.
85 Arctic Council, ‘Kiruna Declaration’, 15 May 2013, Kiruna (Sweden), available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/93.
86 Arctic Council, ‘Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emission Reductions: An Arctic Council Framework for Action’, 24–25 Apr. 2015, Iqaluit, Nunavut (Canada), available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/610.
87 Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane, ‘Summary of Progress and Recommendations’, 11 May 2017, Fairbanks, AK (US), available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/1936.
88 Arctic Council, ‘Fairbanks Declaration’, 10–11 May 2017, Fairbanks, AK (US), available at: https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/1910; Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane, ibid.
89 Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane, ibid., p. 4.
90 Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane, ibid., p. 39.
91 Stockholm (Sweden), 22 May 2001, in force 17 May 2004, available at: http://www.pops.int; Koivurova, Kankaanpää & Stępień, n. 80 above.
92 It has been suggested that it is precisely the Council’s informal nature that positions it as an example of ‘global experimentalist governance’ and an iterative, participatory and non-hierarchical form of global regulation: see Khan, n. 13 above, p. 145.
93 London (United Kingdom), 2 Nov. 1973, in force 2 Oct. 1983, available at: http://www.imo.org/en/About/conventions/listofconventions/pages/international-convention-for-the-prevention-of-pollution-from-ships-(marpol).aspx.
94 IMO, Marine Environment Protection Committee Resolution, ‘Amendments to the Annex of the Protocol of 1997 to amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (Inclusion of Regulations on Energy Efficiency for Ships in MARPOL Annex VI)’, UN Doc. MEPC 62/24/Add.1, 15 July 2011.
95 Arctic Council Task Force on SLCPs, n. 84 above.
96 Litehauz et al., ‘Investigation of Appropriate Control Measures (Abatement Technologies) to Reduce Black Carbon Emissions from International Shipping’, 20 Nov. 2012, available at: http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Environment/PollutionPrevention/AirPollution/Documents/Air%20pollution/Report%20IMO%20Black%20Carbon%20Final%20Report%2020%20November%202012.pdf.
98 Nov. 2014, in force 1 Jan. 2017, available at: http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/polar/Pages/default.aspx.
100 Ibid.; Karim, Md S., Prevention of Pollution of the Marine Environment from Vessels: The Potential and Limits of the IMO (Springer, 2015), pp. 119–123 Google Scholar. See also Kulovesi, K. & Dafoe, J., ‘International Civil Aviation Organization and IMO: International Sectoral Approaches to GHG Reductions in the Transport Sector’, in D.A. Farber & M. Peeters (eds), Climate Change Law (Edward Elgar, 2016), pp. 274–285 Google Scholar.
101 Framework for the CCAC to Reduce SLCPs, Doc. No. HLA/SEP2014/4A, 22 Sept. 2014.
105 van Asselt, H., Alongside the UNFCCC: Complementary Venues for Climate Action (Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, 2015)Google Scholar.
106 E.g., the Global Methane Initiative (http://www.globalmethane.org) and the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative (http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/zero-routine-flaring-by-2030).
107 Young, n. 8 above.
108 ILC Study Group on the Fragmentation of International Law, n. 8 above.
109 Ibid., p. 11.
110 Ibid., p. 11.
111 E.g., Biermann et al., n. 11 above.
112 Zelli, F., ‘Institutional Fragmentation’, in P. Pattberg & F. Zelli (eds), Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Governance and Politics (Edward Elgar, 2015), pp. 469–470 Google Scholar.
113 Stokke, O.S. & Oberthür, S. (eds), Managing Institutional Complexity: Regime Interplay and Global Environmental Change (The MIT Press, 2011)Google Scholar; Selin, H. & VanDeveer, S.D., ‘Mapping Institutional Linkages in European Air Pollution Politics’ (2003) 3(3) Global Environmental Politics, pp. 14–46 Google Scholar.
115 Van Asselt, n. 10 above, p. 32.
116 Ibid., p. 35.
117 Biermann et al., n. 11 above, pp. 19–20.
120 N. 6 above.
121 Biermann et al., n. 11 above, pp. 19–20.
125 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 5 June 1992, in force 29 Sept. 1993, available at: https://www.cbd.int/convention/text.
126 Marrakesh (Morocco), 15 Apr. 1994, in force 1 Jan. 1995, available at: https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/31bis_trips_01_e.htm.
127 Biermann et al., n. 11 above, pp. 19–20.
128 Ibid., p. 31.
131 See Section 3.2.
132 Arctic Council, n. 86 above.
133 It is relevant to mention the ongoing work under the ILC on codifying the law on atmospheric protection, which addresses several of these principles: ILC, ‘Analytical Guide to the Work of the ILC: Protection of the Atmosphere’, available at: http://legal.un.org/ilc/guide/8_8.shtml.
134 On principles of international environmental law see, e.g., Dupuy, P.-M. & Viñuales, J.E., International Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015)Google Scholar, Ch. 3.
135 AMAP, n. 17 above, pp. 10–11.
138 China has the highest share of global emissions of black carbon (20–24% between 1990 and 2007), while India has the second highest (about 10%): see, respectively, UNEP, The Climate and Environmental Benefits of Controlling SLCPs in P.R. China (UNEP, 2015), p. 11 Google Scholar; Sloss, L., Black Carbon Emissions in India (International Energy Agency Clean Coal Centre, 2012), p. 10 Google Scholar.
139 Which include both China and India.
140 See nn. 63, 64 and 65 above.
141 Arctic Council, n. 86 above.
142 See, e.g., ‘Arctic Council Support to Paris Agreement: Address by UNFCCC’s Halldor Thorgeirsson’, 2017, available at: http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/arctic-council-contribution-to-the-impact-of-the-paris-agreement.
143 Arctic Council, n. 86 above.
144 E.g., in the technical expert meeting on non-CO2 GHGs, available at: http://unfccc.int/bodies/awg/items/8420.php#Present.
145 See CCAC Secretariat, ‘UN Climate and Environment Heads say SLCP Reduction is Necessary to Protect Climate: A Joint Opinion Piece by C. Figueres (UNFCCC) and A. Steiner (UNEP)’, 25 Mar. 2016, available at: http://www.ccacoalition.org/en/news/un-climate-and-environment-heads-say-slcp-reduction-necessary-protect-climate.
146 As noted in Section 3.6, the CCAC does not engage in lawmaking activities.
147 See also Biermann et al., n. 11 above.
148 A. Kumarankandath, ‘Should HFCs Be Dealt under Montreal Protocol or Kyoto Protocol?’, 31 Oct. 2014, available at: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/should-hfcs-be-dealt-under-montreal-protocol-or-kyoto-protocol-47171.
150 This can occur, e.g., if one legal regime is perceived as stronger than others – the issue which has been discussed in relation to the trade and environment debate: see van Asselt, n. 130 above, at 336–37.
151 Hafner, G., ‘Pros and Cons Ensuing from Fragmentation of International Law Diversity or Cacophony: New Sources of Norms in International Law Symposium’ (2004) 25(4) Michigan Journal of International Law, pp. 849–863 Google Scholar, at 859.
152 This is also in line with suggestions by other scholars: see van Asselt, H., ‘Interlinkages between Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, and Air Pollution: The International Legal Framework’, in Farber & Peeters, n. 100 above, pp. 286–297 Google Scholar, at 293.
153 van Asselt, n. 130 above, p. 339.
154 Byrne, n. 137 above, p. 43.
155 Ibid., p. 44.
156 Yamineva & Romppanen, n. 136 above.
160 J. Parnell, ‘Arctic Ministers Urge Swift Climate Action to Protect Region’, Climate Home – Climate Change News, 7 Feb. 2013, available at: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2013/02/07/arctic-ministers-urge-swift-climate-action-to-protect-region.