Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

Cuts in super greenhouse gas stalled by China, India, and Brazil

Islands and allies vow to take HFC fight to world leaders

Bangkok, 27 July 2012 – “China, India, and Brazil have again stalled formal negotiations to cut production of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, a fast-action strategy that would provide the biggest, fastest, and cheapest climate mitigation available to the world this decade”, according to Durwood Zaelke, a climate expert and President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.

Disappointed advocates — lead by island States and their allies, now more than 100 countries strong — will carry their fight to the Meeting of the Parties in November, which will mark the 25th anniversary of what is widely acknowledged to be the world’s most successful environmental treaty.

They also will carry their fight to the heads of government to implement the pledge made last month in Brazil at the Rio + 20 summit to phase down consumption and production of HFCs for climate protection.

“As only the Montreal Protocol addresses consumption and production of fluoridated gases like HFCs, this is the only treaty that can implement the leaders’ pledge,” said Antonio Oposa, representing the Federated States of Micronesia, the first country to target HFCs as super greenhouse gases.

“The HFC fast-action climate mitigation strategy now rests squarely with world leaders, where it belongs,” added Oposa. “The Montreal Protocol technocrats who run the day-to-day activities have gone as far as they can with their limited authority.”

On another front, efforts to cut the package of short- lived climate pollutants, including black carbon, methane, and HFCs, moved forward at the Paris meeting of Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Cut Short-Lived Climate Pollutants 23 & 24 July.

“The Coalition’s strategies are moving fast,” said Zaelke. “But we need both speed and scale to capture the full promise of this approach, which can cut the rate of global warming by more than half, save millions of lives each year, and prevent significant crop damage.”

“With climate driven droughts hammering food crops in the US and many other countries, the fast mitigation we can get from cutting HFCs, black carbon, and methane will save a lot of economic loss and human suffering”, added Zaelke.

This Press Release updates yesterday’s release, which is here.

Below is the official summary of Oposa’s statement for the Federated States of Micronesia at the Montreal Protocol working group meeting, which concluded this afternoon in Bangkok.


  1. The representative of the Federated States of Micronesia also presented a proposed amendment to the Protocol, contained in document UNEP/OzL.Pro.WG.1/32/5. Rather than going through his proposal in detail, he drew attention, through the use of poetic allegory, to the dangers of over-consumption inherent in the current model of If all countries aimed to reach the consumption level of the so-called developed countries, he said, the world would require the resources of between five and nine earths, and the consequences would threaten the very survival of some countries, such as those located on small islands. Countries had to learn to use resources efficiently and to live within natural limits.
  2. He recalled that, in effect, HFCs were born out of the Montreal Protocol, not out of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and said that it would be irresponsible for parties to ignore that Parties were faced with a clear choice: develop a global framework for the phase-down of HFCs, or accept the consequences of regulations developed in parties such as the United States or the European Union, which were already taking action to reduce HFC use.
  3. In conclusion, he drew attention to the growing number of parties that were calling for action on HFCs and encouraged all parties to adopt a change in mind-set, saying that the problem could not be solved by adopting the same mind-set that had created it in the first