OTTAWA — The Canadian government wants more study on the impact of eliminating heavy fuel oil in the Arctic before it signs onto an international agreement to ban its use.
It has been 16 months since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-U.S. President Barack Obama jointly committed to phase down the use of heavy fuel oils in the Arctic.
In an unexpected turn of events, the United States kept its end of the bargain under President Donald Trump, becoming one of eight countries which last summer proposed that the International Marine Organization ban heavy fuel oils from arctic shipping vessels by 2021.
Canada, on the other hand, submitted a comment asking for things to be slowed down until further study on the impacts of such a ban can be completed.
Andrew Dumbrille, sustainable shipping specialist at World Wildlife Fund Canada, says the government seems to have done nothing to look at those impacts since the Trudeau-Obama joint statement in December 2016 and now Canada is the one looking like a laggard.
Dumbrille says heavy fuel oil — a substance left over after gasoline is distilled — is the dirtiest fuel on the planet, produces more air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions than other fuels and has been banned from the Antarctic since 2011.
The Canadian Press