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This paper explores the question; How Can the U.S. Lead in Paris to Achieve a Climate Agreement We Can Live With?

With negotiations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) considering limits on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as potent greenhouse gases, this paper examines past transitions during the relatively short, but dynamic history of this international treaty. It focuses on past shifts from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) to HFCs, with the goal of identifying lessons that can inform discussions aimed at transitioning from high-global warming potential (high-GWP) HFCs.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) High-Ambient-Temperature Evaluation Program for low– global warming potential (Low-GWP) Refrigerants aims to develop an understanding of the performance of low-GWP alternative refrigerants to hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in mini-split air conditioners under high-ambient-temperature conditions. This final report describes the parties involved, the alternative refrigerant selection process, the test procedures, and the final results.

Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer are considering actions to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) because of their contributions to climate change. One important issue raised by Article 5 Parties1 is the concern that patents on recently developed low-global warming alternatives could restrict access to or increase the costs of transitioning to these substitutes. This paper looks at how issues related to patents have previously impacted the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances by Article 5 Parties with a focus on the role played by the Protocol’s Multilateral Fund.

This paper discusses key aspects of proposed amendments for phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, including the North American proposal, Micronesian proposal, and the European Union discussion paper. It also discusses key features that could be included in a proposal to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, including control measures, grace periods, financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund, intellectual property rights, and safety. Furthermore, this paper explores the reasons why countries should consider their own amendment proposal. This paper is part of ongoing research on phasing down HFCs and is part of a series of papers already published on the benefits of switching to lower-GWP alternatives, including Cooling India with Less Warming: The Business Case for Phasing Down HFCs in Room and Vehicle Air Conditioners6 and Reducing Stress on India’s Energy Grid: The Power Sector Benefits of Transitioning to Lower Global Warming Potential and Energy Efficient Refrigerants in Room Air Conditioners,7 among others. 

This interim draft paper explores the energy efficiency and power sector benefits of air conditioning companies in India to “leapfrog” and phase down high GWP.

This policy paper provides a non-technical overview of these issues and sets out policy recommendations as countries and companies prepare for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, to be held in Paris in December 2015. in doing so, the paper explains how the ‘short-lived’ versus ‘long-lived’ discussion is not really a technical issue at all, but an expression of inter-generational priorities.

This New Climate Economy Working Paper was written as a supporting document for the 2015 report of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, Seizing the Global Opportunity: Partnerships for Better Growth and a Better Climate. It reflects the research conducted for Section 2.10 of the full report and is part of a series of 10 Working Papers. It reflects the recommendations made by the Global Commission- 1. Major companies should commit to phasing out HFCs through cost-effective cooperative action programmes such as those of the Consumer Goods Forum and Refrigerants, Naturally! 2. The Parties to the UNFCCC should also be encouraged to include an HFC phase-down in their “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs), and reporting on HFC emissions should be extended to all countries. 3. Incorporating HFC production and consumption into the Montreal Protocol would provide significant near-term gains to slow climate change, and could lead to avoiding 1.1–1.7 Gt CO2e of annual GHG emissions per year by 2030.

Ozone protection was the result of professional confidence and sacrifice; brilliant interdisciplinary science and the good fortune of an ozone hole with no explanation other than manufactured fluorocarbons; and industry and government leadership inspired by the realization that life on earth was in jeopardy. In response to the 1974 warning by Dr. Mario Molina and Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were destroying the stratospheric ozone layer, almost 100 ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) have been phased out under the auspices of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol). This paper describes how the United Nations, national governments, citizens, and companies came together pragmatically for the public good. It describes seminal events where individuals and organizational leaders set the stage, came to agreement, and implemented the technology that protects stratospheric ozone and climate. These individuals, who became “Ozone Champions,” often acted alone and with great courage when they were sideways and crossways to the organizations where they were employed. This paper also describes how practical lessons from the successful Montreal Protocol can guide our global society and how stakeholders can positively influence each other to achieve comprehensive atmospheric protection—including halting climate change. The final section considers how the approaches of the Montreal Protocol can dismiss skepticism and embrace technical optimism in implementing cleaner coal and carbon sequestration, even as society aggressively pursues low-carbon renewable energy, energy efficiency, and a transition to sustainable lifestyles.

While negotiations continue for a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by December 2015 to take effect in 2020, a parallel effort to achieve fast climate mitigation is needed under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) to slow current impacts and reduce risks of passing tipping points that trigger self-amplifying feedback mechanisms that accelerate warming. Fast reductions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including black carbon (BC), methane (CH4), tropospheric ozone (TO3), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), can cut the rate of climate change in half by mid-century and by two thirds in the Arctic. The Montreal Protocol can be used to quickly phase down production and consumption of high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs, which can avoid 0.1 °C of warming by 2050, and 0.5 °C by 2100, while catalyzing improvements in appliance energy efficiency, which will provide further climate change mitigation by reducing energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, particularly in fast-growing economies like India and China. The simultaneous global deployment of existing technologies can reduce emissions of BC, CH4, and TO3by enough to avoid an additional 0.5 °C of warming by 2050, while providing immediate benefits for human health, agriculture, and sustainable development. Fast action to reduce the four SLCPs will reduce the risk of setting off irreversible feedback mechanisms and provide urgent optimism and momentum for a successful UN climate treaty in 2015.