Montreal Protocol Inches Closer to Negotiations on HFC Phase-down
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The 36th meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG 36) of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MP) devoted most of its time to addressing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of greenhouse gases (GHG) widely used in the refrigeration, air conditioning, foam and aerosol sector as a substitute for ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

iisdrs-oewg3624 July 2015: The 36th meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG 36) of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MP) devoted most of its time to addressing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of greenhouse gases (GHG) widely used in the refrigeration, air conditioning, foam and aerosol sector as a substitute for ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

The focus of the discussions were proposals to amend the Protocol to phase down HFCs, and the creation of a contact group to negotiate on those proposals.

OEWG 36 tackled HFCs during its session through two tracks. The first was a continuation of informal talks on “the feasibility and ways of managing HFCs” agreed to at an April 2015 special session devoted to HFCs, OEWG 35, and launched intersessionally at a June 2015 meeting held in Vienna, Austria. Throughout OEWG 36 and up until the final evening, on Friday, 24 June, the informal talks sought to set the terms of reference for a contact group that would consider all options for HFC management, including negotiations on the Protocol amendment proposals. Delegates ultimately agreed to hold an additional session of OEWG 36 prior to the Protocol’s next Meeting of the Parties (MOP), which is scheduled to be held in November 2015, in order to conclude discussions in the informal group.

The second track involved the first substantive discussions in plenary of the actual Protocol amendment proposals, with formal presentations of each and questions posed by delegates to proponents about the technical details of their proposals. The four proposals submitted this year were from: North America (US, Canada and Mexico); India; the European Union (EU) and its 28 Member States; and the Island States, namely Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, the Philippines, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

In addition to HFCs, OEWG 36 considered a number of other issues, including: the quadrennial assessment reports of the Protocol’s assessment panels; an initial discussion of possible focuses for the next quadrennial assessment reports, due in 2018; a draft decision on China’s nomination for an essential-use exemption for 2016 for carbon tetrachloride used to test water quality; critical use nominations for 2016 and 2017; and issues related to the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

OEWG 36 met from 20-24 July 2015, in Paris, France. The OEWG prepares issues for discussion and decision at the annual Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Protocol. The 27th MOP will convene from 1-5 November 2015, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. [ENB coverage of OEWG 36] [ENB coverage of OEWG 35 and Workshop on HFC Management] [UNEP release on OEWG 36]


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