Melvin Purzuelo
Kigali, Rwanda
1730H 14 October 2016


Parties attending the final plenary of the 28th MOP  of Montreal Protocol

(photo from Earth Negotiations Bulletin, http://www.iisd.ca/ozone/resumed-oewg38-mop28/14oct.html, accessed 16 October 2016)

The 28th Meeting of Parties of the Montreal Protocol (a protocol to the Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is on the penultimate hours to finalize amendments on the agreement. In about two to four (2-4) hours, delegates will decide, among others, on the various proposals to phasedown the use of HFCs (Hydroflourocarbons) as the cooling agents in airconditioning systems, refrigerations, and chillers; blowing agents for foam manufacturing; solvents; metered dose inhalers; and fire suppressants. The Montreal Protocol was agreed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989 by 197 countries to protect the ozone layer from ozone depleting substances (ODS) that were then mainly CFCs (Clorofluorocarbons).

Global regulations to ban the CFCs and the transition to HCFCs (Hydrocloroflourocarbons) and later to HFCs have been widely successful that climate projections indicate the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 to 2070. However, while the HFCs helped solve the problem of the ozone layer depletion these aggravated other problems because of the higher global warming potentials of HFCs. Some HFCs have more than 10,000 times the global warming potential of CO2.

Estimates show that the rapidly increasing consumption of HFCs especially in developing countries will be responsible for 0.5 deg Celsius increase in temperature by 2100. If this will be allowed then the World will surely miss the target for a limit to 1.5 deg C increase by 2100 even if there is a drastic shift to renewable energy considering that the increase now is already 1.0 deg.

Before the start of the negotiations five days ago, there were at least five (5) proposals on how to reduce the use of HFCs. The Philippines joined the Islands States in proposing for an immediate phasedown using the average consumption of developing countries (A5 countries) in 2015-2017 then adopt control measures from 2020, 85% of the baseline; 2025, 65%; 2030, 45%; 2035, 25% and 2040, 10%. On the other end was the Indian proposal to adopt the average consumption level from 2028-2030 as the baseline of developing countries and have control measures from 2031 (100%) to 2050 (15%).

By Wednesday, 12 October 2016, developing countries consolidated into 2 proposals with Group 1 (position of most developing countries) having 2020-2022 as baseline and reduction of 10% in 2030; 30% in 2035 and 50% in 2040. Group 2 (India, Pakistan, Gulf Countries, Iran) proposing a 2024-2026 baseline and reductions of 10% in 2032; 20% in 2037; 30% in 2042; and for India, 85% by 2046.

Under Article 2 of the Protocol, there should be a different phase-out schedules for developed (A2) and developing countries (A5). This has been one of the major contentions in the negotiations. Issues on finance, technology transfer and capacity building have been repeatedly stated by developing countries in their interventions

As reported by the German news website, dw.com, the Kigali amendment is as follows:

Developed nations including the United States – the world’s second-worst polluter – and many European countries will gradually reduce their HFC emissions by 2019.

A second group of over 100 developing nations, including China – the world’s top polluter – will start reducing in 2024.

A third, smaller group of countries including India, Pakistan and some Gulf states will start later in 2028, after arguing that their economies need more time to grow. The date is three years earlier than India had first proposed.

(Melvin Purzuelo is the National Coordinator (interim) of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas)

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