Meeting an historic chance to tackle climate change

The 25th Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol opened in Bangkok, Thailand today (October 21, 2013), offering an historic opportunity to tackle climate change and prevent the release into the atmosphere of more than 100 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) by the middle of the century through a global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of super greenhouse gases hundreds to thousands of time more potent than CO2.

After years of political deadlock, recent agreements by China, the USA and the G20 have paved the way to phase out the super greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and to encourage both developed and emerging nations to switch to cleaner alternatives.

The Montreal Protocol was established to phase out the chemicals responsible for creating the hole in the ozone layer – chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and related gases – and is widely regarded as one of the most successful environmental agreements ever made; now, it could be employed to score a major win for the climate.

HFCs succeeded CFCs and do not destroy the ozone layer – but they are powerful greenhouse gases with global warming potentials up to thousands of times greater than CO2;  every tonne of HFC released is the equivalent of thousands of tonnes of carbon and it is estimated that by 2050, HFCs could account for as much as 19 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental Investigation Agency campaigners Clare Perry (clareperry@eia-international.org, +34 664 348 821) and Natasha Hurley (natashahurley@eia-international.org, +44 7585 66 36 48) will be present at the meeting and are available for interviews and background briefings on these issues.

Read the EIA report Wheels in Motion: Towards an international phase-down of HFCs, prepared for MoP25, here.