The Effectiveness of the Regulatory Regime for Black Carbon Mitigation in the Arctic

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In addition to being a hazardous air pollutant, Black Carbon is the second-largest contributor to Arctic warming. Its mitigation is being addressed at the international regulatory level by the Arctic Council and the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). Whilst the Convention and its protocols are binding documents, the Black Carbon regulation under their framework appears to have ‘soft law’ characteristics. At the same time, the voluntary Black Carbon
and Methane Framework, adopted by the Arctic Council, demonstrates positive compliance and follow-up dynamics compared to earlier norm-creating attempts. This paper argues that the nature of the norm (binding or non-binding) is not the decisive factor regarding effective implementation in the Arctic region. Current efforts to mitigate Black Carbon by means of a non-binding Arctic Council Black Carbon and Methane Framework represent an improvement in the Council’s normative function and may have more effect on the behaviour of Arctic States than relevant provisions under the Gothenburg Protocol to the CLRTAP. To support this argument, the first section presents an overview of the Arctic Council as an actor in Arctic policy-making. It then provides an assessment of current efforts to combat Black Carbon carried out by the Arctic Council and the CLRTAP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-151
Number of pages16
JournalArctic Review on Law and Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2016


  • Black carbon
  • Arctic Council
  • Air Pollution
  • Climate Change
  • international law


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