An agreement between US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is being seen as a key step towards a global agreement to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.
The agreement of India, following a similar move from China in June, is widely expected to move the phase-down debate forward significantly when the Montreal Protocol nations meet in Bangkok, Thailand, later this month.
The Montreal Protocol, which is already being used to globally phase out Ozone Depleting Substances such as HCFCs, is seen as the best framework for such a phase down, given the high number of countries that are signed up to it. Previous attempts to reach a global agreement have foundered due to opposition from developing nations, so the ‘buy-in’ of India and China, the two largest, is being viewed as a huge step forward.
A plan for formal discussion for phasing down HFCs using the Protocol will now be debated in Bangkok - although how this will develop is in the hands of the Bangkok delegates. Signifiantly, the US-India agreement undertakes to discuss global approaches for HFC phase-down ‘based on economically-viable and technically feasible alternatives.’
These discussions take place in parallel to the ongoing review of the EU F-Gas regulations, which is also set to recommend a phase-down in Europe. The revised regulations for F-Gas are expected by many to be released by the end of the year.