Montreal Protocol on track to reach 2016 HFC amendment

VIENNA: Parties to the Montreal Protocol have made significant progress on agreeing to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in a series of back-to-back meetings in Vienna, raising expectations that a global agreement to address the super greenhouse gases can be adopted this year.

Early in the meetings, Parties agreed language on finance, intellectual property and linkages to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone-depleting substances already being phased out under the protocol.

Progress was later made on narrowing the range of baseline and consumption freeze dates for developing countries; however, there remains significant divergence between countries on the climate ambition of the agreement.

The European Union and JUSSCANNZ (Japan, the US, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Norway) submitted a joint proposal to the discussions, offering more lenient starting points for both developed and developing countries than previous proposals submitted by the North American countries and the EU. They were later joined by the African, Pacific Islands and Latin American countries on a developing country schedule, which is now the most ambitious on the table with an HFC consumption freeze in 2021.

India is proposing to freeze HFC consumption some 10 years later, while most other developing countries, including China, Brazil and Indonesia, propose somewhere in between.

Ahead of last week’s meetings, EIA produced the briefing The Importance of Ambition in the 2016 HFC Phase-Down Agreement, outlining key aspects of the proposals and calling on Parties to seek an agreement securing the highest climate ambition.

Clare Perry, EIA Climate Campaign Leader, said: “Countries are moving in the right direction but there is a huge amount of work to be done to finalise an ambitious amendment in Kigali in October.

“Discussions on the HFC schedule for developed countries lacked the ambition we expect, given that these countries are in a position to fully understand their current HFC consumption and are already taking domestic action to phase down HFCs.

“Climate leadership needs to be demonstrated through an ambitious commitment from the developed countries, not just words.”

Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA Climate Campaign Manager, added: “Several of the baseline and freeze dates on the table are counterproductive. If India waits until 2031 for a freeze, it will not be able to leapfrog HFCs and will see a massive phase-in of these super greenhouse gases instead.

“It is in India’s interests to not only demand more from developed countries, but also ensure India doesn’t get locked into obsolete technology that will need yet another transition.”

 

 

EDITORS’ NOTES

  1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK- and Washington DC-based Non-Governmental Organisation that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.

 

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