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RWANDA: Almost 200 nations reached agreement this morning on a complex phase down of HFC refrigerants.

The historic Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol finally adds HFCs to the process which so successfully administered the global phase-out of HCFCs.

It creates three categories of countries. Developed countries will cap and phase down HFCs staring in 2019. The developing countries, including China – by far the largest HFC consumer and producer – freezing HFC consumption in 2024 and start making cuts in 2029.

A third deal was struck for a small number of countries including India, Kuwait, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. They will cap consumption in 2028, beginning cuts in usage in 2032.

“Compromises had to be made, but 85% of developing countries have committed to the early schedule starting 2024, which is a very significant achievement,” Clare Perry, UK Climate Campaign Leader at environmental group the EIA. “According to our initial calculations, this deal will avoid more than 70 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions by 2050 – which will be close to avoiding a half a degree of warming.”

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The Environmental Investigation Agency’s synopsis of the phase down agreement

The countries are expected to work towards ensuring global industry standards to enable the safe introduction of low-GWP alternatives to HFCs. Parties will also seek a way forward to maximise energy efficiency in the transition away from HFCs.

Top photo: Vincent Biruta, MOP 28 President, brings down the gavel onthe adoption of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal ProtocolPhoto by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth