The landmark HFC phase down agreed this weekend is expected to avoid more than 70 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent HFC emissions. In this graphic we attempt to show how it will all work.


How the global HFC phase down will work under the Montreal Protocol (click on the image to enlarge) ©The Cooling Post 2016

The deal struck under the mechanism of the Montreal Protocol is complicated by the inclusion of an allowance for HCFC usage which is still under a phase-out in most countries. See Nations agree global phase down of HFCs for more details.

Included in the graphic is the European phase-down timetable under the F-gas regulations which have been in existence since 2015. As can be seen, Europe will have reduced its HFC usage by 27% before the other non-A5 countries start the process.

The F-gas final target of a 79% reduction appears to put the European timetable at odds with the final target of an 85% phase down under the three Montreal Protocol agreements. However, being that the EU phase down was based on consumption figures from 2009-2012, the final quantities are expected to comparatively very similar.

The most important observation is that both the Montreal Protocol and European figures are all based on CO2 equivalents. In practice this is designed to encourage the take-up of lower GWP refrigerants. Obviously, as the phase downs kick-in, refrigerant manufacturers will have the incentive of producing far more of the low GWP refrigerants than the higher GWP gases. This will inevitably lead to higher costs and potential scarcity of the high GWP refrigerants like R404A.