Global consensus to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol is more probable than ever, with former opponent, India, now committed to limiting the production and consumption of HFCs.
In April, the Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol met in Bangkok, Thailand to document the progress that has been made in developing more sustainable alternatives to HFCs and to discuss proposals for an HFC phase-down. With sustainable HFC alternatives now on the market or under development for nearly every HFC application, supporters of the phase-down now include India, Brazil, China, and a bloc of African countries.
The newfound support of previous opposition leaders like India is creating critical momentum for an anticipated landmark agreement at the November 2015 Meeting of the Parties in Dubai. After years of opposition, India took a significant step in addressing climate change by proposing its own amendment to the Montreal Protocol –to gradually phase-down production and consumption of HFCs, potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) with global warming potentials (GWPs) thousands of times that of carbon dioxide.
Again, the United States, Mexico and Canada jointly submitted an amendment proposal to the Montreal Protocol that includes provisions to phase down the production and consumption, and eliminate byproduct emissions of HFCs. All the various HFC phase-down proposals can be found on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) website.
The meetings did not come without opposition. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and Bahrain rejected the proposed formation of an HFC phase-down “contact group,” a formal vehicle for developing solutions for specific problems. Ultimately, however, Saudi Arabia agreed to holding an "inter-sessional" meeting in the next two months, "with a view toward establishing a contact group" on HFC proposals at the next negotiating session in Paris in July.
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