Vienna climate meet sets the stage for a deal on HFC phase-down

Amendment to Montreal Protocol should be ambitious and should provide provisions to address energy efficiency, says CSE

  • The Resumed 37th Open Ended Working Group (OEWG), 38th OEWG and the Third Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties (ExMOP3) to the Montreal Protocol concluded in Vienna on Saturday

  • Final solutions for challenges to phasing down HFCs identified

  • Six proposals for a baseline submitted; a freeze-date for developing nations and two proposals for developed countries also submitted. All of these will be discussed in October in Rwanda 

Vienna, July 25, 2016: As the 10 days of negotiations in Vienna on an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) came to a close on Saturday, what emerged were clear signs of a deal with solutions to all the major challenges. The meeting in Vienna was being held to pave the way for just such a deal between the nations of the world when they meet in October this year in Kigali, Rwanda, at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

In Vienna, countries submitted six proposals for baseline, a freeze-date for developing countries and two proposals for developed countries. So far, the Indian proposal remains the most unambitious and conservative among all the proposals submitted.

With the priority on getting in place an agreement this year on HFC phase-down, it was recognised that a flexible approach is needed for developing countries. But there was divergence on fairness, ambitiousness, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and funding.

Energy efficiency emerged as an important component in the negotiations. “There is a need to have a deal that prioritises natural refrigerants during HFC phase-down and India should enhance ambition and push for energy efficiency in equipment,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). 

CSE has encouraged parties to agree to a deal that ambitiously phases down HFCs while moving to a safer, non-patented technology like natural refrigerants. Considering that the IPRs of new generation chemicals are owned by just a few companies, CSE has recommended that Parties should not permit a situation where a monopoly over new chemicals emerges as an outcome of an important environmental conference. These new generation chemicals also have a high potential for polluting waterbodies and therefore, are unnecessary and should not be funded.

With negotiations expected to end in October, countries have decided to converge ahead in intersession meetings or in an extended OEWG 38, which could take place a couple of days before the meeting in Rwanda, based on the availability of funding.

Recommendations of CSE

  • Have an ambitious phase-down proposal

  • Promote non-patented natural refrigerants which have low global warming potential

  • Stop new generation unsaturated chemicals which could pollute water

  • Resolve issues related to funding, IPR of new chemicals and blends

  • Provide provisions for incentivising energy efficiency to reap greater benefits

  • Provide a financial mechanism to support leapfrog to natural refrigerants