UNEP-Countries Make Further Progress towards Curbing Potent Greenhouse Gases under the Montreal Protocol
11 April 2016 - Only two weeks ahead of the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer have taken steps towards amending the Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which will help curb global warming.
HFCs are used in air conditioning, refrigeration, foams and aerosols as replacement for many ozone depleting substances. An amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs would avoid an estimated 105 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050, and up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
At the 37th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG37) held last week in Geneva, the Montreal Protocol parties made solid progress on some of the key issues under the "Dubai Pathway" towards limiting the use of HFCs.
Addressing Key Challenges
In addressing the challenge of lack of alternatives to HFCs for some applications, the parties agreed on the need for an exemption mechanism for countries with high ambient temperature (HAT) conditions and elaborated the details of such a mechanism.
Parties also made headway on the challenge of funding and flexibility in implementation of possible HFC control measures, endorsing some overarching principles, and agreeing to continue discussions during a resumed session of OEWG37 to be held in the coming months.
Building on their earlier work at the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Parties in Dubai last November, countries discussed other challenges such as Intellectual Property Rights, non-party trade provisions, the relationship of HFC phase-down with the on-going phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), the special situation of developing countries and the possible synergies between the ozone and climate regimes to enhance common understanding on elements of possible solutions.
The parties will continue working intersessionally within the contact group on HFCs in order to reach agreement.
The parties also considered an initial report on climate-friendly alternatives to ozone-depleting substances by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol, and provided further guidance for the panel to consider in its second report, which is to be presented to the 38th OEWG meeting in July, in Vienna.
Urgent Need for Action
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