Black carbon and the Arctic: Global problem‐solving through the nexus of science, law and space

Dr Sabaa Ahmad Khan1, Professor Kati Kulovesi1

1School of Law, University Of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

Black carbon pollution is an important driver of climate change in the Arctic region. Most black carbon emissions entering the Arctic originate from non‐Arctic sources, and hence mitigating black carbon pollution in the Arctic region requires not only regional, but global engagement. Attempts to regulate borderless climate pollutants such as black carbon force us to think about law’s effectiveness from the perspective of its relationship to science as well as its engagement with space. This article argues that for effective legal problem‐solving, black carbon pollution must be addressed from the point of view of science, law and space. Scientific, social and spatial landscapes reveal different legal narratives embedded in climate governance that have traditionally fallen outside the State‐led discourse of environmental legal negotiation and yet are central to developing a meaningful understanding of global climate ‘law’, realities and outcomes.


Sabaa Ahmad Khan is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (School of Law, University of Eastern Finland) and an Attorney Member of the Barreau du Québec. She is a Member and 2019 Chair of the Joint Public Advisory Committee established under the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation. Khan holds a doctorate from the Faculty of Law at McGill University, where she was an O’Brien Doctoral Fellow of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. She is currently leading an Arctic environmental justice project funded by the Academy of Finland.

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