Emissions of short-lived climate forcers such as black carbon and methane must be reduced to stop the rise in temperature in the Arctic, according to a joint declaration issued by the environment ministers from Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Åland after their meeting in Svalbard, 26-27 March.
The Nordic environment ministers from Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Åland want to work together to reduce emissions of SLCFs at national, regional and global level.
Short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) are particles and gases with a short life span in the atmosphere but a heavy impact on the climate and health.
Cutting emissions of SLCFs would have a rapid effect on both the climate and health. It would help to slow the rise in temperature, which has been particularly rapid in the Arctic where it has caused a significant reduction in the the volume of ice on land as well as sea over the last 30 years.
"Initiatives are needed that address these emissions under the auspices of the various international environmental agreements. But it will take time before those agreements make sufficient impact, so there is an urgent need for independent initiatives that lead to rapid reductions in emissions of short-lived climate forcers like black carbon. These initiatives need to be taken in both the industrialised and developing countries," the ministers said.
The Nordic environment ministers from Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Åland want to work together to reduce emissions of SLCFs at national, regional and global level, and will push for change in various international forums.
They made it clear that sharp reductions in CO2 emissions are the key to halting global warming and the melting of the Arctic ice in the longer term.
The Nordic countries will continue to develop and improve national emissions accounts for SLCFs, including black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone. They will also evaluate the need for national action plans for emission reductions, as well as the potential for a Nordic action plan based on the national ones.
As part of this work, a Nordic seminar will be held, 7-8 June 2012. The agenda will include national experiences with emissions accounts, cost-effective measures to cut emissions and drawing up national action plans.
The Svalbard meeting also included a visit to the Ny Ålesund environmental research station, discussions about sustainability targets in the run up to the environment summit in Rio two decades on from the World Commission on Environment and Development, about the future of the Swan ecolabel and about a new Nordic environmental action programme.
Tone Hertzberg email@example.com