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HFC phase-down “now inevitable”

12910439_sFRANCE: Parties to the Montreal Protocol were upbeat at the possibilities of a global HFC phase-down agreement at the conclusion of this week’s meeting in France.

A late-night effort by the US to provide a path forward next year stalled when a few countries objected that they did not have enough time to study the US proposal. India proposed further constructive changes, but the chair ruled that time had run out a minute before midnight. India called for clear roles for developed and developing countries, with different phase down schedules.

Nevertheless, a critical agreement was reached when the Parties agreed to replenish the Multilateral Fund with $507.5m over the next three years, a record amount that reassured the developing countries that the full agreed incremental costs would be paid for the current phase down of HCFCs.

“We turned a corner in Paris with China and India indicating their willingness to consider how to move forward to discuss the proposed HFC phase down”, said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD).

“The world’s two biggest countries have moved onto the winning team, and this means that the HFC amendment is now inevitable. India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar brought new ideas and new energy to the meeting, and will clearly be one of the leaders going forward next year on the HFC amendment.”

A majority of countries including China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, along with the EU and the United States have called for fast action to cut production and use of HFCs, the fastest growing greenhouse gas in the world, using the institutions and expertise of the Montreal Protocol, while leaving accounting and reporting of emissions within the UN climate treaty. In total, more than 120 countries have called for action to phase down HFCs.

“This is the only climate strategy where all the major countries of the world are lining up on the same side,” said the IGSD’s Durwood Zaelke.

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