EFCTC: HFCs under the Montreal Protocol

Proposed Amendments to include HFCs in the Montreal Protocol

At the 22nd Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP-22), two draft decisions on amendments to the Protocol to address HFCs were presented by the US, on behalf of Canada and Mexico (UNEP/ OzL.Pro.22/5), and by the Federated States of Micronesia (UNEP/OzL.Pro.22/6), advocating for a phase down of HFCs under the Protocol to mitigate the climate change impact of their projected use increase.

See also EFCTC Position in advance of MOP-22.

The proposals were triggered by projections showing that HFC emissions are likely to rise by roughly 300% by 2050 triggered these proposals (EFCTC comments here :EFCTC POSITION PAPER ON PROJECTED HFC EMISSIONS.
The MOP adopted no decision on these draft proposals, but 91 countries signed on to a US-led declaration, which was included in the MOP 22 Report as Annex III. The declaration encourages Parties to promote policies and measures aimed at selecting low-GWP alternatives to HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances.

Key Points of the North American HFC Submission to the Montreal Protocol:

  • Listing HFCs as a new Annex on the Montreal Protocol, including the two HFOs.
  • Recognizing that there may not be alternatives for all HFC applications and therefore utilizes a gradual phasedown mechanism with a plateau, as opposed to a phaseout.
  • Establishing provisions for developed country (non-Article 5) and developing country (Article 5) phasedown of production and consumption (see figure)

HFC Reduction Steps for Article 5 and Non-Article 5 Countries (% of HCFCs and HFCs Production and Consumption, averaged over 2004 to 2006)

Due to differences of views amongst delegations (Brazil, India and China objecting), no decision was adopted by the MOP. Nevertheless 91 countries signed on to a US-led declaration, which was annexed to the MOP 22 Report.

Annex III

Declaration on the global transition away from hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

  • Recognizing that hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are replacements for ozone-depleting substances being phased out under the Montreal Protocol, and that the projected increase in their use is a major challenge for the world’s climate system that must be addressed through concerted international action,
  • Recognizing also that the Montreal Protocol is well-suited to making progress in replacing hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) with low-global warming potential alternatives,
  • Mindful that certain high-global warming potential alternatives to HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances are covered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol and that action under the Montreal Protocol should not have the effect of exempting them from the scope of the commitments contained thereunder,
  • Interested in harmonizing appropriate policies toward a global transition from HCFCs to environmentally sound alternatives,
  • Encourage all Parties to promote policies and measures aimed at selecting low-GWP alternatives to HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances.
  • Declare our intent to pursue further action under the Montreal Protocol aimed at transitioning the world to environmentally sound alternatives to HCFCs and CFCs.

India, China and Brazil remained united in their resistance to including HFC-controls under the Protocol, underlining that HFCs are not ODS and thus remain outside the scope of this regime, preferring to address this under the UNFCCC.

More recently, an India-US Task force on HFCs has been established, which will include industry representatives, scientists, and government officials from India and the US to evaluate a phase-down of the production and use of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.

The US have also requested the Ozone Secretariat to post on its web site the US Declaration, and inviting countries to associate themselves with it.