The European Union has backed the phase-down of HFCs using the Montreal Protocol. The decision, taken at the climate change negotiations in Bangkok, Thailand, backs the position of the US, Canada, Mexico and others in seeking a shorter timeframe for the phase-down.
Campaigners believe a rapid phase down of HFCs could prevent the equivalent of 3-5 years of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
“The EU’s action provides enormous momentum for amending the Montreal Protocol to take rapid action to phase down HFCs — clearly they have joined the growing number of nations that view this as an essential part of the solution to global warming”, said Fionnuala Walravens, Climate Campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency. Walravens added, “Agreement to take action on HFCs sends a clear signal that the world can unite when it comes to tackling climate change.”
The Montreal Protocol’s historic success in controlling and eliminating ozone depleting substances means that it already has the infrastructure and experience necessary to phase out HFCs quickly and effectively. The Protocol stakeholders are scheduled to meet in Port Ghalib, Egypt during the first week of November and consider two proposals for an HFC phase-down. Both proposals leave HFC emissions in the “basket” of gases regulated by the UNFCCC, but allow the Montreal Protocol to phase down production and use of HFCs.
Provisions exist within the Protocol to finance the costs of a phase-down, to build the required infrastructure and to facilitate the technology transfer necessary to ensure that all countries are able to meet their phase down obligations.