Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

New Climate Economy Report Calls for Phase Down of HFCs Under Montreal Protocol

HFC reduction one of 10 key actions for climate protection economic growth

7 July 2015 – Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol is one of the top ten strategies for keeping the climate from warming less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels while also promoting strong economic growth and development, according to the New Climate Economy report released today. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, chaired by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón and comprised of 28 global leaders drawn from 20 countries, identified 10 key actions designed to guide countries on methods to drive economic growth and development while achieving as much as 96% of the greenhouse emissions reductions needed by 2030 to keep global warming under 2°C.  In the final report the commission recommended that “the Parities to the Montreal Protocol approve an amendment to phase down the production and the use of HFCs.”

“An HFC phasedown under the Montreal Protocol this year could avoid the equivalent of 100 (87-146) billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by mid-century, and avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “Through a fast implementation of the HFC amendment an additional 39 to 64 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent could be mitigated. Further mitigation would come from efficiency gains in room air conditioners catalyzed by the phase down of the refrigerants.” According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the climate benefit from improving the efficiency of room air conditioners could save enough electricity to avoid building up to 1,900 medium-sized power plants in the next 15 years.

The New Climate Economy report also recognized energy efficiency measures as another key action to drive growth and reduce emissions, stating “energy efficiency investments could boost cumulative economy output by US $18 trillion by 2035, increasing growth by 0.25-1.1% per year.”

Support for and HFC amendment is growing rapidly.  Last week President Obama and President Rousseff of Brazil agreed to “consider promptly amendment proposals to phase down HFCs.” This follows the agreements President Obama personally negotiated with President Xi of China and with Prime Minister Modi of India to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.

To date, proposals have been submitted to phase down HFCs by 90 countries, including by India; the U.S., Canada and Mexico; the EU-28; eight pacific Island states led by the Federated States of Micronesia and the Philippines; and the 55 countries of the Africa Group have become one of the most forceful champions of the HFC amendment. The next round of negotiations under the Montreal Protocol are scheduled for later this month in Paris.

The New Climate Economy report is here.

IGSD’s Primer on HFCs is here.