BELGIUM: The “natural” refrigerants media group Shecco has called for a far more stringent agreement on HFC refrigerant phase downs than that achieved at Kigali.

In a recently published position paper, Shecco, the media group behind the successful series of Atmosphere conferences, called the Kigali amendment a step in the right direction, but falling short of the high level of ambition boasted of in the run-up to the meeting.

“The pace of the Kigali HFC phase-down is slow – almost too slow,” the company says in a statement. “The deal does not place enough emphasis on the opportunity to leapfrog HFCs in favour of new natural refrigerant-based technologies that are cost effective, energy efficient and readily available.”

It claims that with the technology solutions available now, developed countries could achieve their phase down of 15% of their baseline far more quickly than the Kigali agreement date of 2036.

“Necessity is the best stimulant for innovation, but the amendment is weak on necessity,” it says.

Shecco laments that the recent agreement will be difficult to change, with future alterations likely to require new decision texts rather than becoming part of the Montreal Protocol itself.

Also, as the HFC phase-down is measured in CO2 equivalents Shecco maintains that this leaves the door open for the chemical industry to push new HFO/HFC blends onto the market “whose GWP is still rather high” and reduces industry’s incentive to shift away from HFCs.

Shecco is also critical of the exemptions for high ambient temperature countries will be able apply for exemptions from the HFC phase-down. “Innovation is quickly eroding arguments that high ambient temperatures compromise technological efficiency,” Shecco maintains in its statement.