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INDIA: In addition to agreeing an HFC phase down, India has also decreed that its chemical industry must collect and destroy emissions of its most potent greenhouse gas, HFC23.

The Indian Environment Ministry calculates that the move could save as much as 444 million tonnes of CO2e emissions.

HFC23 is a by-product of the production of R22. While HCFCs are being phased out as refrigerants, their use as a feedstock has grown significantly in recent years.

This latest measure requires five Indian companies which manufacture HCFC22 to capture and then incinerate HFC23, so its release into the atmosphere is prevented. With a massive GWP of 14,800, HFC23 is seen as a huge contributor to climate change.

Clare Perry, UK Climate Campaign Leader of EIA, said: “HCFC22 production for feedstock is growing every year and with it the potential for significant HFC23 emissions. This is a welcome commitment from India and all countries with HFC23 by-production should do the same – it is one of the cheapest climate mitigation steps available.

EIA first exposed the HFC23 scandal 10 years ago and has carried out investigations into HFC23 venting in China and India. 

HFC23 destruction projects were the first projects under the Clean Development Mechanism; however, the mitigation is so cost-effective that the projects actually incentivised companies in China and India and South and Central America to overproduce HCFC22 to increase the amount of HFC23 that could be destroyed.