16 July 2018: The 40th meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (OEWG 40) focused on, inter alia, identifying appropriate action in response to an unexpected increase in ozone depleting emissions of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11), which is primarily used as a foam-blowing agent for flexible and polyurethane insulating foams and as a refrigerant.

OEWG 40, which convened from 11-14 July 2018 in Vienna, Austria, recognized the need to respond to an increase in CFC-11 emissions, and agreed to initiate work to identify sources and deliver findings to the OEWG and Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP). Tina Birmpili, Ozone Secretariat Executive Secretary, stressed that any illegal consumption and production of CFC-11 “demands decisive action.”

The Montreal Protocol’s Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP) uncovered findings on CFC-11 emission increases, including that: since 2013, the annual decline in CFC-11 concentration has only been half as fast as over the previous decade (2002-2012); CFC-11 emissions increased after 2012 and have remained high in the years since; currently available data suggest Eastern Asia as the source of emissions; the scale of observations suggests unreported CFC-11 production following the global phase out in 2010; and precise emissions sources have yet to be fully verified and accounted for.

Currently available data suggest Eastern Asia as the source of CFC-11 emissions.

Responding to these finding, delegates emphasized the need for an urgent response and agreed to “definitively quantify, locate and halt these emissions.” They requested that: the SAP provide a summary report on the unexpected increase of CFC-11 emissions, including information regarding atmospheric monitoring and modeling with respect to such emissions; the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) provide information on potential sources of emissions of CFC-11 and related controlled substances from potential production and uses, as well as from banks, that may have resulted in unexpected quantities of CFC-11 emissions in relevant regions; and all Parties submit relevant scientific and technical information on related emissions monitoring by 1 March 2019.

The meeting also considered, inter alia: the report by the TEAP on opportunities to enhance energy efficiency in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump sectors while phasing down HFCs in the future; nominations for critical-use exemptions for methyl bromide for 2019 and 2020; senior expert nominations to the TEAP; and implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Protocol to phase down HFCs, including data reporting modalities and destruction technologies for controlled substances. The Kigali Amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2019.

In addition, OEWG 40 discussed the outcomes of the workshop on energy efficiency opportunities while phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which took place from 9-10 July 2018 in Vienna. The workshop focused on energy efficiency in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump sectors, and addressed, inter alia: technical opportunities for improving energy efficiency; investment, financial and policy measures that can encourage improved cooling efficiency; and potential connections between energy efficiency policies and the Kigali Amendment.

MOP 30 will convene from 5-9 November 2018 in Quito, Ecuador. [UN Environment Press Release] [IISD RS Coverage of OEWG 40]