Protecting Human Rights by Reducing Black Carbon Emissions to Slow Arctic Warming

Earthjustice is working on behalf of the Arctic’s Athabaskan people to reduce black carbon emissions, a major cause of Arctic warming.



Erika Rosenthal

Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

For millennia, the Arctic has been the earth’s air conditioning—it cools warm air from the equator and in the process establishes wind and weather patterns. But black carbon pollution threatens this essential cooling system.

Black carbon, which is emitted by diesel engines, gas flaring, biomass burning and other industrial practices, can travel great distances from its emission source and settle onto white Arctic snow and ice. The black color absorbs sunlight and accelerates melting.

The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Reducing black carbon emissions could substantially slow Arctic warming and melting. It would also protect the homeland of Athabaskan people, who rely on an intact Arctic ecosystem for their survival. Earthjustice is representing the Arctic Athabaskan Council before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to reduce black carbon pollution, slow Arctic warming and protect Athabaskans’ homeland.

The Athabaskans rely on an intact Arctic ecosystem for their survival.
The Athabaskans rely on an intact Arctic ecosystem for their survival. (Photo courtesy of the Athabaskan Arctic Council)

Case Updates

The UN climate talks in Lima, Peru.
December 22, 2014 Article

Looking Back on Lima and Looking Forward to Paris

So, was the Lima climate accord enough? Take a look at some of the highlights (and low lights) and decide for yourself.

April 23, 2013 Press Release

Human Rights Petition to Reduce Black Carbon Emissions Urges Canada to Take Immediate Action

Arctic Athabaskan Council says rights violated by failure to slow rapid Arctic warming

April 23, 2013 document

Arctic Athabaskan Territories (French)