9 November 2015
Montreal Protocol Parties Set Roadmap for HFC Amendment
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The 27th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP 27) adopted decisions on essential-use exemptions (EUEs) and critical-use exemptions (CUEs), and a Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) report on alternatives to ozone depleting substances (ODS), among other substantive and procedural decisions.

Following protracted negotiations, Parties also agreed to a road map for negotiating an amendment on the feasibility and ways of managing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Delegates huddle outside the plenary room on the last day of MOP 278 November 2015: The 27th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP 27) adopted decisions on essential-use exemptions (EUEs) and critical-use exemptions (CUEs), and a Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) report on alternatives to ozone depleting substances (ODS), among other substantive and procedural decisions. Following protracted negotiations, Parties also agreed to a road map for negotiating an amendment on the feasibility and ways of managing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

MOP 27 met from 1-5 November 2015, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). MOP 27 followed the two-day resumed session of the 36th Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 36) on 29-30 October, which had agreed on a mandate for a contact group on HFCs. Over 500 participants from governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia and industry attended the joint meeting.

On negotiating the HFCs amendment, the Parties decided to work within the Montreal Protocol toward an amendment in 2016, first resolving challenges through generating solutions in the contact group. They agreed to hold a series of OEWG and other meetings, including an extraordinary MOP in 2016. The decision recognizes the progress made at MOP 27 on the challenges identified in the group’s mandate, including developing a common understanding on issues related to flexibility of implementation, second- and third-stage conversions, guidance to the Executive Committee, enabling activities for capacity building, and the need for an exemption for high-ambient-temperature countries. The decision recommends maintaining the Multilateral Fund (MLF) as the financial mechanism, and agreeing that additional financial resources will be provided by non-Article 5 Parties to off-set costs arising from HFC management for Article 5 Parties, if obligations are agreed to. The decision on HFCs recognizes that further progress still needs to be made, in particular regarding other identified challenges, such as conversion costs, technology transfer and intellectual property rights (IPR).

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), highlighted the relevance of the HFC decision for addressing climate change, noting that “HFCs may not cause direct ozone damage, like the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) they replace, but many of them contribute to greenhouse emissions…. Some estimates put their global warming impact at up to 10,000 times that of carbon dioxide.” Urging action on HFCs, Steiner said, “If we don’t get this genie back into the bottle quickly then, by 2050, we could be looking at as big a problem as the one we have just solved.”

Delegates also adopted decisions on: avoiding the unwanted import of products and equipment containing or relying on hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs); organizational issues related to the TEAP; budget; and membership of Montreal Protocol bodies for 2015.

According to UNEP, the Montreal Protocol has delivered “an extraordinary return on investment,” with an investment of US$3.5 billion expected to result in global health benefits estimated at US$1.8 trillion and avoided damages to agriculture, fisheries and materials worth US$460 billion by 2050. [IISD RS Coverage of MOP 27 and OEWG 36] [MOP 27 Website] [UNEP Press Release]


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