Agreement in Dubai to work towards Montreal Protocol amendment in 2016 hailed by US as “opening a new chapter in the fight against climate change”
The countries who have been leading the push for an HFC phasedown are celebrating the agreement to address the reduction of the refrigerants through the mechanism of the Montreal Protocol.
The US Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement describing the agreement as opening a new chapter in the fight against climate change. He said: “At the 27th Meeting of the Parties to the in Dubai, nations from around the world committed to address HFCs under the agreement and work toward an amendment in 2016.
This is a major accomplishment. The Montreal Protocol is among the most successful multilateral environmental treaties in history. Amending it to include HFCs could set a course for actions that would avoid 0.5 deg C of warming by the end of the century.”
The decision will give greater momentum to the discussions in the UN climate change talks in Paris on November 30 which are aimed at limiting global waming to 2 deg C.
Mr Kerry added: “The progress in Dubai also indicates that the world is ready for a new chapter in the fight against climate change. In agreeing to address HFCs together, we have laid the groundwork for even greater co-operation toward a successful outcome in Paris - and the entire planet will be better off for it.”
Reports from the Dubai talks suggest that there was some frustration from the countries who wanted to push ahead with more details for the talks in Paris, but there was broad relief that the starting gun had been sounded.
Jeem Lippwe representative for the Federated States of Micronesia, one of the nations pushing for an accelerated phasedown told the Huffington Post: “After seven years of efforts, we have at last agreed to amend the Montreal Protocol next year to phase down HFCs.
This is a significant win for the climate system and for the momentum of multilateral climate cooperation heading into Paris.”
There has been a broad consensus amongst policymakers that the Montreal Protocol is the most appropriate mechanism for global phasedown of HFCs, given its success in phasing out HCFCs in many parts of the world.
The news was greeted with cautious optimism by climate campaigners. EIA Climate Campaign Team Leader Clare Perry said: “The Parties now need to roll their sleeves up, thrash out the details as early as possible and remind us why the Montreal Protocol is often referred to as the world’s most successful environmental treat. The Protocol has a clear mandate on HFCs and a path forward to resolving the remaining issues and agreeing an amendment in 2016.”
EIA said during the negotiation, developed countries offered a number of concessions in the event of a phase-down agreement, in particular on the need for developing countries to have flexibility in implementation and the need for exemptions in high-ambient temperature countries. “However, thorny issues such as technology transfer and Intellectual Property Rights remain.”
Mark Roberts, EIA Senior Policy Advisor, added: “The Montreal Protocol has almost 30 years of successful technology transfer and with the flexibility and commitment shown this week it is clear that these challenges can be resolved. A phase-down agreement under the Montreal Protocol could avoid over 100 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions and much more if the Protocol incentivises energy efficient technologies.”