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Parties Agree to Negotiate Phase Down of Powerful Greenhouse Gas


HFCs targeted under Montreal Protocol

Can avoid equivalent of 100 billion tons of CO2, half degree Celsius of warming

Dubai, 30 October 2015 – Tonight Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to launch formal negotiations to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) under the Montreal Protocol. After two days of discussions, Parties agreed on the path forward for the formal negotiations to phase down these super greenhouse gases, now growing at a rate to 10 to 15 percent per year.

Under the agreed terms of reference, the Parties will begin the formal negotiations Sunday, when the Meeting of the Parties begins in Dubai.

The US is sending a ministerial-level representative for the first time since 2007, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy.

“By beginning the amendment to phase down HFCs, Parties to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to move forward on the biggest, piece of climate mitigation in the near term,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “As Secretary Kerry warned yesterday, the Paris climate negotiations at the end of the year will not be enough to avoid the 2C warming limit.  An HFC phasedown is an important down payment prior to Paris.”

A global HFC phase down under the Montreal Protocol would avoid the equivalent of up to 100 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2050, and 0.5C of warming by 2100, providing significant near-term gains to slow climate change.  HFCs are considered short-lived climate pollutants as they remain in the atmosphere for 15 years or less, but have a global warming potential often thousands of times more powerful than CO2.

The last issue to be agreed was the language on financing:

“Maintain the MLF as financial mechanism, and agree that additional financial resources will be provided by non-A5 [developed country] parties to offset costs arising out of HFC management for A5 [developing country parties] parties if obligations are agreed to.  In this regard key elements for financial support from the MLF for A5 parties will be developed by the contact group to provide guidance to the ExCom of the MLF, taking into account the concerns of parties.”

Op-Ed by US Secretary of State John Kerry on HFCs is here

Op-Ed by Military Leaders in India and Pakistan (ret.) on importance of HFC phasedown is here

IGSD’s Primer on HFCs is here