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G7 Urges Phase Down of HFCs under Montreal Protocol This Year


Urges donors to assist with fast implementation

Bavaria, Germany, 8 June 2015 - The Group of Seven leaders agreed today to “continue our efforts to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and call on all Parties to the Montreal Protocol to negotiate an amendment this year to phase down HFCs and on donors to assist developing countries in its implementation.”

“The odds of a successful HFC amendment this year just went from a long shot to the favorite, although maybe not yet the odds for American Pharoah,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.  “The G7 just put the spotlight on success this year, and up’ed the ante with the prospects of further funding for fast implementation.”

“The amendment will deliver the biggest single piece of climate mitigation in the near term,” Zaelke added.  “When expected energy efficiency gains from air conditioners and other appliances are added, this strategy becomes even more compelling.”

HFCs, which are short-lived climate pollutants used primarily as coolants in air conditioners, are currently the fastest growing climate pollutant in the world.  A phase down of HFCs this year under the Montreal Protocol can 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.  Fast implementation of the HFC amendment can increase the mitigation by 39 and 64 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent.  Improving energy efficiency of air conditioners and appliances that use HFCs can save enough electricity to avoid building up to 1,900 medium-sized power plants in the next 15 years, according to preliminary results from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

The Montreal Protocol has already successfully phased out nearly 100 similar ozone-depleting chemicals by almost 100% in UN participating countries, avoiding an equivalent of an estimated 9.5 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Formal negotiations are expected to start at the next Montreal Protocol Open Ended Working Group in Paris this July, and an amendment agreement could be concluded as soon as November this year during the Meeting of the Parties in United Arab Emirates. Support for the phase down is rapidly growing, as India, the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the EU, and eight pacific Island states led by the Federated States of Micronesia and the Philippines, have all submitted formal amendment proposals this year. The Africa Group also has submitted its own draft, and has become a forceful champion of the HFC amendment.

“An agreement this November to phase down HFCs would provide a tremendous boost to the UN climate negotiations that are aiming for their own agreement in Paris in December,” Zaelke added.

The G7 Communique is here.

IGSD’s HFC Primer is here.