This chapter provides open-access teaching materials for COP 26 — the Glasgow Climate Summit — held in November 2021. It was written as a supplement to the 6th edition of the casebook, International Environmental Law and Policy, but can be used as a stand-alone assignment for any environmental law course. It contains separate sections on Finishing Paris, NDC Commitments, The Glasgow Climate Pact, Working Toward a Just Transition, Sectoral Commitments Outside NDCs, and Non-State Commitments, followed by a Questions and Discussion section.
This paper addresses what has been described as a primary concern related to patents: even if chemical companies in Montreal Protocol Article 5 Parties can develop their own methods of producing low-GWP refrigerant hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) or using them in the products they make, they could be prevented (absent a license) from selling their products at home and in key markets abroad in countries where restrictive patents have been granted to other companies, at least until the time when challenges to patents are decided or these patents expire.
This paper reviews the status of patents granted on HFO-1234yf in automotive air conditioning (AC) in the US, Europe, and China, covering the largest automotive manufacturing regions in the world. This paper primarily focuses on patents on the use of HFO-1234yf in automobiles, as opposed to patents on the manufacture of HFO-1234yf.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) can be further strengthened to control ozone-depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons used as feedstocks to provide additional protection of the stratospheric ozone layer and the climate system while also mitigating plastics pollution. The feedstock exemptions were premised on the assumption that feedstocks presented an insignificant threat to the environment; experience has shown that this is incorrect. Through its adjustment procedures, the Montreal Protocol can narrow the scope of feedstock exemptions to reduce inadvertent and unauthorized emissions while continuing to exempt production of feedstocks for time-limited, essential uses. This upstream approach can be an effective and efficient complement to other efforts to reduce plastic pollution. Existing mechanisms in the Montreal Protocol such as the Assessment Panels and national implementation strategies can guide the choice of environmentally superior substitutes for feedstock-derived plastics. This paper provides a framework for policy makers, industries, and civil society to consider how stronger actions under the Montreal Protocol can complement other chemical and environmental treaties.
In 1974, Mario J. Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland warned that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) could destroy the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects Earth against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation [Molina and Rowland Nature 1974, 249, 810]. In 1975, Ramanathan warned that CFCs are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs) and would rival carbon dioxide (CO2) in causing climate change if left unabated [Ramanathan Science 1975, 190, 50]. The 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Protocol), arguably the most successful global environmental treaty in history, was enacted in response to these warnings. This Protocol has phased out almost 99% of the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODSs). Other papers have explored the “world avoided” by actions under the Protocol [Prather et al. Nature 1996, 381, 551; Newman et al. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 2009, 9, 2113; Morgenstern et al. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2008, 35, 1]. They concluded that the ozone layer would have been highly depleted across the globe by the mid-21st century without the Protocol and that the Protocol contributed significantly to reduce climate change. This paper explores what could have been achieved if the world had acted against the continued use of ODSs, which were both ozone-depleting and greenhouse gases, immediately after Molina and Rowland warned of stratospheric ozone depletion and Ramanathan warned of climate forcing using chemicals and technology that were already globally available in the mid-1970s. We show that such “precautionary principle” actions would have reduced global ozone layer depletion, reduced the extent of the ozone hole, brought forward the dates for ozone layer recovery, and helped minimize climate change.
Despite three decades of political efforts and a wealth of research on the causes and catastrophic impacts of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions have continued to rise and are 60% higher today than they were in 1990. Exploring this rise through nine thematic lenses—covering issues of climate governance, the fossil fuel industry, geopolitics, economics, mitigation modeling, energy systems, inequity, lifestyles, and social imaginaries—draws out multifaceted reasons for our collective failure to bend the global emissions curve. However, a common thread that emerges across the reviewed literature is the central role of power, manifest in many forms, from a dogmatic political-economic hegemony and influential vested interests to narrow techno-economic mindsets and ideologies of control. Synthesizing the various impediments to mitigation reveals how delivering on the commitments enshrined in the Paris Agreement now requires an urgent and unprecedented transformation away from today’s carbon- and energy-intensive development paradigm.
Life Cycle Climate Performance (LCCP) is a widely accepted metric to evaluate the carbon footprint of air conditioning (AC) systems “from cradle to grave.” This paper: (1) reviews the invention and evolution of LCCP, including a comprehensive timeline and bibliography; (2) documents the successful application of LCCP in the replacement of HFC-410A with HFC-32 in room air conditioners; (3) compares the conceptual frameworks and the operational approaches; and 4) reflects on the drawbacks of current LCCP research and points out possible future work.
The major policy-relevant findings are: 1. The indirect emissions caused by energy consumption is 70 to 80 percent of the LCCP of AC systems in most countries but will decline in importance as electric power supply shifts rapidly from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources, which have near-zero carbon intensity; 2. The embodied greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in refrigerant manufacture are, in most cases, negligible but the physical and chemical properties are crucial for system optimization for low carbon footprint; 3. The LCCP metric can be used for multiple purposes such as refrigerant selection and AC system architecture optimization; and 4. Data limitations in material manufacturing and the carbon intensity of electric power are the most significant challenges. Finally, this paper describes a variety of methods to fill in data gaps, including the correction factor method, the data-driven method, and the database searching method. The next-generation LCCP will be an enhanced evaluation process considering local climate, heat islands, and local power supply characteristics.
This document is the updated edition of the Recommendations for Climate Friendly Refrigerant Management and Procurement authored by the SPLC Climate Friendly Refrigerant Action Team. The Climate Friendly Refrigerant Action Team is dedicated to investigating global regulatory and voluntary programs to avoid and/or reduce emissions from high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs. This document identifies opportunities and specific procurement options 1) to avoid high GWP HFC refrigerants when purchasing new energy efficient refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, and 2) to reduce refrigerant leakage and service emissions. We invite you to read and put this work to use in your own procurement processes, and to offer additional insights and experiences to sharpen and improve the guidance over time.
The Global Methane Assessment shows that human-caused methane emissions can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade. Such reductions would avoid nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045 and would be consistent with keeping the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5˚C) within reach.
The assessment, for the first time, integrates the climate and air pollution costs and benefits from methane mitigation. Because methane is a key ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), a powerful climate forcer and dangerous air pollutant, a 45 per cent reduction would prevent 260 000 premature deaths, 775 000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat, and 25 million tonnes of crop losses annually.
As the world warms, the growing use of air conditioners (“ACs”) and other cooling equipment becomes essential for human comfort and public health. In addition, cooling-equipment energy and refrigerant consumption also presents tremendous climate mitigation opportunities. This article highlights China’s “Same Line, Same Standard and Same Quality” policy (“Same-Line Policy” or “Policy”), intended to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and address the export challenges that have negatively affected Chinese industries and products on the global market. The Policy encourages manufacturers of consumer and industrial products to sell products within China that were produced for markets outside China according to standards exceeding those for products produced for the Chinese market. The Policy, and the associated information and business platforms that the government established to ensure policy success, aim to improve the domestic economic situation through consumption of products previously destined for export markets but which are not being sold because of the economic downturn during the pandemic. Policies like these, representing a course of action that China’s leadership endorses, can drive changes in Chinese law, including changes that address loopholes in the law that allow environmentally harmful activities to continue. The Same-Line Policy provides an opportunity for global climate mitigation, public health, and other benefits that should not be missed.
In 2019, the Government of Morocco with industry and non-governmental partners organized the Morocco Banker’s Air Conditioner Buyers Club with an ambition to gain access at a competitive and affordable cost to room air conditioners (RACs) with high-efficiency and low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants as mandated globally by the Montreal Protocol. In 2020 the Government of Morocco and the Morocco Banker’s AC Buyers Club have decided to replace older RACs with next-generation technology using more climate-friendly refrigerants. This report provides the indicative finding that the RAC replacement program planned by the Government of Morocco and partners will reduce power consumption by up to 70% with additional economic and climate benefits from the recovery and destruction in local cement kilns of obsolete HCFC and HFC GHG refrigerants.