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Montreal Protocol enforcement rethink urged after CFC crackdown pledge

The EIA welcomes the response of China and other protocol signatories to address concerns over CFC11 production, but says major challenges lie ahead to improve policing of commitments

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) campaign group has welcomed commitments by signatories of the Montreal Protocol to tackle concerns over high levels of emissions containing the ozone depleting substance CFC11.

The conclusion of the latest meeting of parties singed up to the Montreal Protocol in Ecuador last week set out new steps to understand the source of the CFC11 emissions that an EIA investigation attributed to a number of factories in China.

The campaign group said it welcomed the reaction to an investigation it had undertaken into “widespread and pervasive” use of CFC-11 for construction purposes in China. It argues the investigation has raised important questions over the wider effectiveness of existing monitoring and enforcement of greenhouse gas emissions.

Information will now be required during the next meeting of the parties concerning CFC11 levels in the atmosphere and an analysis of existing monitoring work and reporting on the substance as part of the protocol, according to the EIA.

The EIA said, “The decision also calls on parties to take measures to ensure the phase-out of CFC11 is sustained in their countries and to share information relating to any illegal CFC11 production or use.”

“During the discussion, China shared information on a nation-wide enforcement effort that has resulted in the discovery of two CFC-11 illegal production sites.”

EIA UK climate campaigns leader Clare Perry said the organisation commended China over its stated commitments for trying to tackle illegal production of CFC11. However, she said that the latest commitments from the Chinese and other parties signed up to the Montreal Protocol still faced significant challenges.

She said, “This is a turning point for the Montreal Protocol – nothing less than a comprehensive overhaul of its compliance and enforcement regime will ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

The campaign group added that all signatories had agreed during the meeting to introduce provisions for reporting details around HFCs under the Kigali Amendment to the protocol. This will take effect in January 2019.

Agreement was also reached during the meeting to consider making use of a financial mechanism under the protocol to provide extra funding for energy efficiency initiatives in low volume consuming countries, the EIA added.

Avipsa Mahapatra, who leads the EIA’s US climate campaign, said that China’s response to enforcing CFC11 production on the back of its campaigning reflected the importance of the Montreal Protocol.

She said, “However, it is critical to invest in systemic changes to aid continued compliance and also address the related issue of refrigerant banks, which could avoid up to 97 billion tonnes of carbon emissions equivalent globally between 2020 and 2050.”

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