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Montreal Protocol Endorsed for Fast Climate Mitigation


World’s most effective environmental treaty asked to do more for climate

Goal is phasing down HFCs, benefits equivalent to 100 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide

Oslo, Norway, 3 September 2013 - Efforts to phase down the super greenhouse gas called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, received a boost today when the Climate & Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants agreed to “to work toward a phasedown in the production and consumption of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.”

The Montreal Protocol phasedown was endorsed by the Coalition’s Country Partners, now numbering 33 plus the European Union, including Nigeria, Bangladesh, Columbia, Ghana, Mexico, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, the United States, and Norway, the host of the High-Level Assembly of the Coalition which issued its Communiqué at the conclusion of today’s meeting.

The Coalition’s Country Partners also agreed to “adopt domestic approaches to encourage climate-friendly HFC alternative technologies” and to “work with international standards organizations to revise their standards to include climate-friendly HFC alternatives.”

“Agreeing to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol is the single biggest, fastest, and most effective action we can take against climate change in the next several years,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development in Washington, DC and Geneva. The Institute was one of the first non-governmental partners in the Coalition and sits on the Steering Committee. Zaelke participated in today’s meeting in Oslo.

“Phasing down HFCs can avoid the equivalent of up to 100 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2050, and up to 0.5° Celsius of warming by 2100,” Zaelke added. “The cost is expected to be less than 10 cents per tonne, the best bargain going for climate protection.”

Two formal proposals to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs are being considered under the treaty, one submitted the a coalition of three vulnerable countries, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Maldives, and the Royal Kingdom of Morocco. Mexico, Canada, and the US submitted the other proposal.

To date, at least 112 countries have indicated support for reducing HFCs, including China, when President Xi Jinping reached an agreement earlier this summer with President Obama to phasedown HFCs using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol.

The Coalition, with a total of 72 Partners, including the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Environment Agency, also announced that the World Bank would set up a “pay-for-performance” fund to reduce methane, another of the short-lived climate pollutants, along with black carbon and tropospheric ozone. In addition, the Coalition commissioned a review of strategies to support financial flows towards project that can reduce black carbon emissions.

At the meeting today Norway announced a pledge of $20 million to support the Coalition, and the US announced that it was increasing its contribution for this year to $5.5 million.

“The rapid growth, enthusiasm and potential for this Coalition to catalyse fast action across a range of sustainability challenges, including climate change, is one of the really positive developments of the past year. We are proud to have played a key role in this effort,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Hans Troedsson, Executive Director of the Director General's Office for the World Health Organization, presented a compelling case for taking fast action to reduce black carbon and tropospheric ozone, air pollutants that contribute to over six million death every year, noting that these pollutants “cause a particular burden on women and children in developing countries.” He added, “Now that we are partners in the Coalition we welcome the opportunity to help expand the Coalition’s public health efforts.”

The World Bank also issued a report on how they planned to mainstream reductions of short-lived climate pollutants in their portfolio. The report was commissioned by the G8 last year.

The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation, an international finance institution established in 1990 by the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), announced that it was reviewing projects to finance that would reduce short-lived climate pollutants.

Zaelke added, “The Coalition started 18 months ago with a great spirit, the spirit of urgent optimism to reduce climate pollutants. Since then we have added speed to complement our spirit, and have moved ahead quickly with new partners, new initiatives, and new funding. Now our challenge is to increase the scale of our efforts so we can cut the rate of global warming in half over the next several decades, while also saving millions of the lives lost every year to the short-lived climate pollutants, and preventing significant damage to crops. In the meantime, of course, we also must work to cut carbon dioxide aggressively.”