Montreal Protocol Parties Make Progress Towards HFC Amendment
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Participants at a series of three meetings under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer discussed proposed amendments to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), concluding work on generating solutions to the stated challenges contained in the Dubai Pathway on HFCs, with an agreement on possible funding solutions.

However, Parties were unable to conclude all of their work, and suspended the 38th Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG 38).

oewg3725 July 2016: Participants at a series of three meetings under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer discussed proposed amendments to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), concluding work on generating solutions to the stated challenges contained in the Dubai Pathway on HFCs, with an agreement on possible funding solutions. However, Parties were unable to conclude all of their work, and suspended the 38th Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG 38).

The resumed session of OEWG 37 convened in Vienna, Austria, from 15-16 July 2016. It was followed by OEWG 38, which met from 18-21 July, and the third extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (ExMOP 3), which took place from 22-23 July 2016.

HFCs are human-made gases commonly used as refrigerants and propellants in aerosols. Because they do not damage the atmospheric ozone layer, they are often used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (ODS). However, HFCs, like other F-gases, are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs), with a global warming effect up to 23,000 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2).

The resumed session of OEWG 37 continued its discussions on the feasibility and ways of managing HFCs, as agreed to under the Dubai Pathway on HFCs. OEWG 38 considered, inter alia: the report by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) on updated and new information on alternatives to ODS; the TEAP 2016 report; issues related to exemptions under Article 2 of the Protocol; and the terms of reference (ToR) for the study on the 2018-2020 replenishment of the Multilateral Fund (MLF) for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol. Parties also continued work in the HFC Management Contact Group, starting consideration of the four amendment proposals.

ExMOP 3 considered issues contained in the Dubai Pathway on HFCs. ExMOP 3 convened a ministerial roundtable session titled ‘Moving Forward to Deliver in 2016 on the Mandate of the Dubai Pathway on HFCs.’ Parties also heard national statements and updates on the work of HFC Management Contact Group. Delegates adopted a decision for the TEAP report to MOP 28 to assess the climate benefits and MLF financial implications of proposed HFC phase-down schedules.

During the series of meetings, participants reached agreement on: finance; linkages between HFCs and HCFCs; and exemptions not related to high-ambient temperature (HAT). On financing, parties agreed on, inter alia: three overarching principles and timelines; guidance provided to the Executive Committee on incremental costs, including on the consumption manufacturing sector and the production and servicing sectors; and the cut-off date for eligible capacity, which will be determined by the MOP. On linkages between HFCs and HCFCs, discussion centered on the need to avoid double conversions. On exemptions not related to HAT, the agreed text indicated that: exemptions will be allowed, such as for essential uses and critical uses, in any HFC amendment; the exemption mechanism, including the possibility of multi-year exemptions, will be considered at a date to be set during amendment negotiations; and TEAP will be provided with information and guidance for its periodic review of sectors where exemptions may be required.

Participants also discussed baselines, freeze dates and reduction schedules for a possible HFC amendment, but did not agree on text. An informal group agreed on a compromise that contains six different proposals for baselines and freeze dates for Article 5 countries and two proposals for non-Article 5, presented in a chart. For Article 5 baselines, proposals were made as follows: the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) proposed a baseline of 2024-2026 and a freeze date of 2028; China and Pakistan proposed 2019-2025 and a freeze date of 2025-2026; India proposed a baseline of 2028-2030 and a freeze date of 2031; the African Group, Pacific Island Countries, Latin America like-minded, EU and JUSSCANNZ proposed 2017-2019 as a baseline and 2021 as a freeze date; Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina, the English-speaking Caribbean and Cuba proposed 2021-2023 and a freeze date of 2025; and Iran proposed 2024-2027 as a baseline and 2029 as a freeze date. For non-Article 5 Parties, the EU and JUSSCANZ proposed 2011-2013 as a baseline, while Belarus and the Russian Federation proposed 2009-2013.

Parties are expected to continue discussion of these issues intersessionally and at MOP 28, convening in Kigali, Rwanda, in October 2016. [IISD RS Coverage] [UNEP Press Release] [UNEP Deputy Director Statement] [Meeting Website]


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