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CCAC High Level Assembly: Reducing HFCs via Montreal Protocol is the most significant climate action the world can take this year


By CCAC Secretariat:

Ministers and high-level representatives of 25 countries today backed the adoption of an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase-down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are powerful greenhouse gases.

The Ministers and high-level representatives of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) are convinced that stopping the fast growth of HFCs and finding alternatives to them is one of the best opportunities to reduce short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), and make a major contribution to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

 “Now is the time to act to ensure that we avoid the climate impacts of HFCs before they grow any larger. The science is clear, as is the path we must take,” the CCAC Communique said. “An HFC phase-down under the Montreal Protocol can avoid up to 0.5⁰ Celsius of global warming by the turn of the century.”

The communique was adopted at a specially convened meeting of CCAC’s High Level Assembly, which confirmed the support and commitment of Coalition partners for rapid action to reduce HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.

Hakima El Haite, Minister of Environment and Climate Champion of the Kingdom of Morocco, conveyed to delegates that the Moroccan presidency of COP 22 expressly supported the adoption of an ambitious amendment of the Montreal Protocol at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue.

“This will avoid up to 0.5⁰ Celsius of global warming and will be a major contribution to achieve the temperature goals set in the Paris Agreement. If we accompany the HFC phase-down with policies to promote super-efficient appliances we can double our climate benefit while also improving air quality and strengthening energy security,” Dr El Haite said. “The past week we resolved the preliminary challenges, including finance. Now we are ready for the final step, which is to adopt the amendment in October.  As a Climate Champion for COP 22, I am committed to achieving this historic agreement this year to protect the Earth and our citizens.”

Many of the HFCs an amendment will reduce have a Global Warming Potential (GWP) 100s to 1000s of times more powerful than carbon-dioxide (CO2).

Moving to super-efficient, and affordable cooling technologies that use low-GWP refrigerants will also have additional benefits for climate change mitigation. Complementing an HFC phase-down with measures to improve the energy efficiency of HFC-containing equipment can also reduce CO2 emissions, the CCAC Communique notes. For example, improving the average efficiency of air conditioners sold in 2030 by 30% could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25 billion tonnes over the lifetime of the equipment.

Many of the HFCs an amendment will reduce have a Global Warming Potential (GWP) 100s to 1000s of times more powerful than carbon-dioxide (CO2).

The CCAC Ministers and high level representatives highlighted the viability of rapid phase-down of HFCs, saying that there are an increasing number of climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs in many sectors and applications and welcomed efforts to develop and adopt technologies and practices that reduce HFC use and emissions and collaborate internationally to expand the availability of low or zero GWP alternatives.

CCAC State Partners also recognized the need for increased support to the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol to provide assistance to developing countries to implement an ambitious phase-down and are encouraged by the recent statements from G7 and Nordic country leaders signalling their intent to provide additional support through the Multilateral Fund following adoption of an amendment for its implementation.

The CCAC Ministers and high-level representatives are committed to being vocal and active on the issue and challenged states to take the significant steps required to “ensure that we have an ambitious HFC phase down amendment in 2016 no later than when the Parties to the Montreal Protocol meet in Rwanda in October 2016”.

Additional quotes:

Gina McCarthy, Administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency

“We are making tremendous progress and I am optimistic that an ambitious amendment with broad international support will get over the finish line this year. We urge all countries to join us in taking the next major step forward after Paris to fight climate change and protect our common home.”

Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme

"The Montreal Protocol is a living example of what the International community can achieve by bridging science, policy and regular funding. The ozone layer is now healing largely due to actions taken under the protocol. The same parties that have crafted the Montreal Protocol are discussing how they can turn this expertise and track record of success to phasing-down HFCs and protecting climate.”

Rita Cerutti, CCAC Co-Chair and International Affairs Advisor, Environment and Climate Change, Canada

“An ambitious HFC phase-down amendment in 2016 is within reach, and the CCAC has continued to work towards contributing to this goal by promoting HFC alternatives, undertaking demonstration projects, supporting national HFC inventories, and organizing technology conferences.  We have a successful, proven instrument in the Montreal Protocol, a pressing climate need, and a group of motivated, committed Partners.  An HFC phase-down amendment is feasible and achievable in 2016, and the CCAC is doing its part to help realize one of the most important actions that can be taken to contribute to meeting the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.”

The CCAC "Vienna Communique" is here.