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India drops opposition to HFC phase-down

3147107_sBANGKOK: In a surprise move, India has dropped its opposition to bringing HFC phase-down controls into the Montreal Protocol mechanism.

Ahead of next week’s special meeting in Bangkok to address HFCs, India, previously one of the main opponents of a global phase-down of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, has now submitted its own amendment proposal.

While the Indian proposal is vastly different to the amendment proposed by the USA, Canada, and Mexico, the move is seen as a significant negotiating step.

Clare Perry, head of climate at the green group the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) described the move as “a major opportunity to begin negotiations on the most immediate, cost-effective and tangible global measure to address climate change.”

Colleague, Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA International Climate Policy Analyst, added: “It is refreshing to see India come to the negotiating table for these potent greenhouse gases as India has historically been opposed to such an amendment.

“With the European Union also expected to submit a proposal, it is a clear signal that there has been significant political progress on the issue of HFCs and instead of questioning whether HFCs should be addressed under the Protocol, countries are now trying to answer how to address them.”

The 35th meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will be held in Bangkok from Wednesday, April 22 to Friday, April 24. It is the first time in the Montreal Protocol’s 30-year history that an OEWG has been dedicated to discussing HFCs.

The Indian proposal includes a wide range of proposals including financial compensation for Article 5 countries. Significantly, under its phase-down proposals, India calls for a grace period of 15 years for Article 5 Parties “to ensure availability of safe, technically proven, energy-efficient, environment friendly, economically viable, commercially available, matured non-HFC technologies.”

India’s phase-down timetable proposal


It proposes that the baselines for non-Article 5 countries should be the average of 2013-2015 with a freeze in 2016. For Article 5 countries, India proposes the baseline to be based on the average of 2028-2030 with a freeze in 2031 and phase-down with “a flexible approach” to reach the plateau of 15% of the baseline in 2035 and 2050 respectively.

The North American amendment proposal suggests a gradual phase-down with a plateau, as opposed to a phase-out. Like the Indian amendment, it proposes separate provisions for non-Article 5 and Article 5 phase-down of production and consumption (see figure below) on a global warming potential (GWP)-weighted basis. The suggested baseline for Article 5 countries, however, is calculated as 100% of average HFC consumption and production and 50% of average HCFC consumption and production from 2011-2013. For non-Article 5 countries, it proposes that the baseline is calculated as 100% of average HFC consumption and production and 75% of average HCFC consumption and production from 2011-2013.

For Article 5 countries it proposes a 20% reduction in 2026 with an 85% phase-down by 2046. For non-Article 5 countries, it proposes a 10% phase-down in 2019, with an 85% phase-down by 2036.

The North American phase-down timetable


OEWG-35-3E-5Next week’s meeting will be preceded by a two-day workshop on HFC management.

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