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On 28 December 2021, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, National Development and Reform Commission, and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology jointly released a new policy document entitled the Circular on Strictly Controlling the First Batch of HFC Production Construction Projects (hereinafter referred to as “the Circular”).

According to the Circular, as of 1 January 2022, it is prohibited to construct or expand the production facilities for five categories of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), including HFC-32, HFC-134a, HFC-125, HFC-143a and HFC-245fa, for controlled usages such as refrigerants and blowing agents. This excludes projects that have already had their environmental impact assessment reports approved. Additionally, the existing production facilities for the five categories of HFCs listed above are prohibited to, during the process of renovation or off-site construction, increase their production capacity of currently-approved HFC chemicals or add any of the five categories of HFCs listed above to their production list.

The Circular represents another important step in China’s implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, to phase down the production and consumption of high-global warming potential HFCs.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, agreed by the Parties in October 2016, represents the single biggest piece of climate mitigation to date. A fast HFC phasedown can avoid up to 0.5°C of future warming by 2100. To date, 129 countries have ratified the Kigali Amendment. Beyond phasing down HFCs, improving the energy efficiency of cooling equipment has the potential to at least double the climate benefits of the Kigali Amendment in the near term. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol entered into effect in China on 15 September 2021.

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The 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its underlying framework convention, the 1985 Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, solved the first great threat to the global atmosphere by putting the ozone layer on the path to recovery by about 2060.

Globally, the Montreal Protocol’s success in phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances has prevented an estimated 19.1 million non-melanoma cancer cases, 1.5 million melanoma cases, 129 million eye cataracts, and 333,500 cancer fatalities over the period 1987–2060. Total quantified benefits are estimated at US$459 billion, with estimated costs at US$224 billion (see Smith et al., 1997). This does not include the significant mitigation of climate change the Montreal Protocol has provided (see Velders et al. 2007).

The 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs will also contribute significant additional climate mitigation and avoid up to 0.5°C of warming through the end of the century (Xu et al. 2013). Additional efforts to promote the energy efficiency of cooling equipment will provide still more climate protection (see Dreyfus et al. 2020).

The Max Planck Encyclopedias of International Law’s updated Ozone Layer, International Protection (2021) entry, by IGSD’s Dr. Stephen O. Andersen, Durwood Zaelke, Kristen N Taddonio, Richard Ferris, and Dr. Nancy J. Sherman, details the ins and outs of what is widely considered the world’s most successful environmental treaty, the Montreal Protocol. The entry provides detailed analysis of the Protocol’s objectives, chemicals covered, adjustments and amendments, assessment panels, and many other aspects.

The entry is available for open access here.

On 15 December 2021, the China Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) issued the 14th Five-Year Work Plan on the Construction of Zero-Waste Cities, together with another 17 national ministries and agencies. The Work Plan identifies the sectors, timeline, and process for building 100 zero-waste cities by 2025.*

With this goal in mind, the Work Plan serves as a guide for China’s efforts to mitigate climate and other pollutants from the key waste-generating sectors, including industry, agriculture, construction, and households.

Of particular note, a number of the measures provided in the Work Plan contribute to methane emissions reduction, including actions to improve solid waste disposal in industrial sources, reduce household waste landfills, manage and reuse livestock waste, and control the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The Work Plan’s timeline and process for identifying and building 100 zero-waste cities are as follows:

  • By 15 February 2022. Provincial Departments of Ecology and Environment submit to MEE candidate zero-waste cities. MEE then finalizes the list of approved candidates.
  • By end of July 2022. Cities that make to the list of 100 zero-waste cities promulgate their municipal 14th Five-Year Implementation Plan on the Construction of a Zero-Waste City.
  • By end of every January during 2023-2025. The 100 zero-waste cities submit an annual report describing their actions, achievements, and challenges to the Provincial Departments of Ecology and Environment.
  • By end of every March during 2023-2025. The Provincial Departments of Ecology and Environment submit to MEE their annual summary reports on their zero-waste cities.

According to the Global Methane Assessment released by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), aggressively cutting methane emissions is the fastest and most effective way to reduce the rate of warming and keep the global average temperature from breaching the 1.5°C barrier above preindustrial levels. Available mitigation measures can cut emissions from human activities by 45 percent and avoid nearly 0.3 °C of warming by the 2040s, as well as avoid 255,000 premature deaths and 26 million tonnes of crop losses worldwide every year.

*Note that the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council previously announced the target of building 100 zero-waste cities by 2025 on 2 November 2021.

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Portland, Oregon – The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) announced today IGSD Senior Climate and Energy Advisor Kristen N. Taddonio as the winner of the Individual Leadership Category of the 2021 Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Awards. The award recognizes “an individual whose vision, leadership, and dedicated effort have been fundamental to the advancement of the sustainable purchasing movement”.

SPLC is the leading space for procurement collaboration and innovation. The organization connects purchasers, suppliers, and advocates to work across industries and roles to aggregate purchaser demand for more environmentally and socially sustainable product and service choices, produced in fair and safe working conditions. The SPLC Leadership Awards recognize purchasers and suppliers who have gone beyond the norm to drive sustainability through core procurement, for significant impact on their own organization and on the world.

“Sustainable procurement is no longer on the margins. Transformational change requires that every organization, regardless of size or sector, harness the power of its procurement to raise market demand for products and services with positive social and environmental impacts,” said Sarah O’Brien, SPLC’s CEO. “The organizations and individuals we recognize today are blazing the trail for the procurement community with strategic initiatives that drive concrete results. Kristen has been an exemplary leader in recognizing and leveraging sustainable procurement strategy to forward her organization’s mission of supporting environmentally sustainable development.”

Over the past two years, IGSD’s Kristen Taddonio worked with a multi-stakeholder group of SPLC members to develop guidance for purchasers on the adoption of requirements for climate-friendly refrigerants in all relevant contract categories. Refrigerant gases are powerful global warming contributors and can cause massive negative impacts, so this is one of the most critical climate actions procurement professionals can take. Kristen also developed a program that helps incentivize and align purchaser demand for climate-friendly refrigerants, to demonstrate the massive business potential for these alternatives to the supplier community.

The 2021 Leadership in Sustainable Procurement winners were selected by a prestigious jury from the public and private sector, and civil society, including Rex Hardaway (Emory University), Adam Rubenfield (World Bank), and Sanjay Kumar (Government of India), among others.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by the distinguished members of the jury,” said Taddonio. “Procurement professionals play a powerful role in protecting the planet. Purchasing power, put to good purpose, provides products that are better in every way: cheaper, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly. By adopting products that are energy efficient and that use climate-friendly refrigerants, the world can avoid more than 0.5°C of warming this century! I am humbled and inspired by the world that SPLC and its members do, and I thank you for helping make the world a better place.”

“Kristen is a climate and energy rock star,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of IGSD. “She always pushes the envelope to drive success, and I’m thrilled she has been recognized as part of this year’s Honorees. Bravo.”

The awards were presented in a Zoom ceremony on December 16th, which also recognized SPLC’s Strategic Program Coaching Cohort for their completion of the organization’s rigorous sustainable procurement strategy development program.

About the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council

The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), founded in 2013, convenes a global community of purchasers, suppliers, advocates, and researchers to develop and propel best practices in sustainable procurement. A membership-driven non-profit, SPLC enables public and private organizations to be strategic in their sustainable purchasing for the greatest social, economic, and environmental impact. Based in Portland, OR, SPLC has over 160 active members wielding over $800 billion in annual purchasing power.

Washington DC, 29 November 2021— Tightening feedstock controls under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) will provide substantial environmental benefits to the ozone layer and climate while reducing plastic pollution and persistent organic pollutants, concludes a provocative new paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Narrowing Feedstock Exemptions Under the Montreal Protocol Has Multiple Environmental Benefits, authored by a team of international climate and ozone technical experts, lawyers, and scientists, explains how the Montreal Protocol can be further strengthened to narrow exemptions for ozone-depleting greenhouse gas (GHG) feedstocks used in the manufacture of plastics. These plastics pollute the land, rivers, and oceans with toxic and hazardous waste that threatens current and future generations.

“Plastic pollution is a growing threat impacting the well-being of every living creature on this planet. This paper starts the conversation on how the Montreal Protocol can be helpful in reducing plastic waste under other treaties, national and regional regulations, and voluntary programs,” said Dr. Stephen O. Andersen, Director of Research at the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) and co-lead author of the paper. “We must commit to aggressively reducing plastic using all the strategies at our disposal.”

The authors explain that Montreal Protocol Parties have existing authority through its adjustment and amendment procedures to vote to narrow the scope of existing feedstock exemptions to reduce inadvertent and unauthorized ozone-depleting GHG emissions while continuing to exempt production of feedstocks for time-limited and 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.

“Complex chemical pathways are involved in using ozone-depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons as feedstocks to produce plastics.   As a starting point, we estimate that up to 6% of plastics can be potentially avoided if relevant feedstocks were curtailed,” said Dr. Song Gao, Professor of Environmental Science and Chemistry at Duke Kunshan University and Professor of the Practice of Global Studies at Duke University, and co-lead author of the paper.

“The Montreal Protocol has not only put the stratospheric ozone layer on a path to recovery, but it has also done more than any other agreement to slow catastrophic global warming. With time running out to avert the worst of climate impacts, we must do all we can to reduce warming fast,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development and co-author of the paper. “This paper challenges policymakers, industries, and civil society to take fast action under the Montreal Protocol to further protect stratospheric ozone and climate while reducing hazardous and toxic feedstock and plastic pollution. This is a winning strategy for the climate, the planet, and all peoples.”

Download Narrowing Feedstock Exemptions Under the Montreal Protocol Has Multiple Environmental Benefits here.

For media inquiries and additional information, please contact: Dr. Stephen O. Andersen, +1 202 255 3733, sandersen@igsd.org

Washington, DC, 29 November 2021— Environment+Energy Leader announced today that IGSD’s Chief Scientist Dr. Gabrielle Dreyfus has been named to the 2021 Environment+Energy Leader 100, recognizing environment and energy “doers” who break trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices, and products to help achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management.

Dr. Dreyfus is an expert on fast climate mitigation strategies, including reducing the short-lived climate pollutants which is the best strategy available to cut near-term climate warming. Most recently, she served as the lead coordinating author on a synthesis report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the intersection of energy efficiency and the phasedown of f-gases in the cooling sector. The Cooling Emissions and Policy Synthesis Report, published July 2020, confirmed the significant mitigation available from the dual HFC and improved energy efficiency strategy—the equivalent of up to 260 billion tons of CO2 by 2050, and up to 460 by 2060. Dr. Dreyfus was also the lead author of the longer underlying assessment of the report, the Assessment of Climate and Development Benefits of Efficient and Climate-Friendly Cooling, among many other publications.

Now at IGSD, Dr. Dreyfus previously served as the Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of International Climate and Clean Energy and held various fellowships at the U.S. Senate, National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Energy. Dr. Dreyfus received a doctorate in Geosciences from Princeton University and Sorbonne Université for her research reconstructing climate change history from Antarctic ice core records conducted at the Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l’environnement and Princeton.

“For those of us lucky enough to know Gabby, we discover that she is a remarkable type of scientist who first uses science to identify solutions to the climate crisis and then works successfully with policymakers and businesses to implement them,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of IGSD. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gabby for nearly a decade and learn something new from her every day. I am thrilled she has been recognized as part of this year’s Honorees. Bravo.”

Now in its fifth year, the annual Environment+Energy Leader 100 showcases “movers and shakers who are making a difference”. Those who ensure “that the world we live in continues its transformation into a more resource-efficient, sustainable place for future generations”.

See the complete list of this year’s honorees and past honorees here.

Watch for individual Q&As published in Environment+Energy Leader throughout the year to find out what the 100 are working on. Subscribe to their e-newsletter here.

About Environment+Energy Leader

For fifteen years, Environment+Energy Leader (www.environmentenergyleader.com) has provided news, best practices, and research that has influenced environment, energy, and sustainability conversations–and powered decision-making. We have a wide range of professional resources, including our website, newsletters, awards programs, webinars, reports, white papers, and conferences to help you tackle environment and energy management challenges in order to reduce costs, increase efficiency and minimize resource waste. Environment+Energy Leader is published by Business Sector Media LLC.

25 November 2021 – China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) announced next steps for methane emissions control during the 14th Five-Year period (2021-2025), at its monthly press conference in November 2021. These steps are intended to support China’s targets for achieving net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2060 and implement the U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s.

According to MEE, China will promote methane emission reduction through the following measures:

  • Conducting research on the status of its methane emissions, identifying effective methane-emissions reduction measures in key sectors including coal mining, agriculture, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment, and oil and gas, and promoting the development of methane recycling and emissions reduction technologies.
  • Promulgating a National Action Plan on methane, including the following actions:
    • establishing the policy, technology, and standards system for methane emissions reduction in coal, oil and gas, waste treatment, and other sectors;
    • revising the coalbed methane/coal mine gas emissions standard and strengthening standard implementation;
    • strengthening methane emissions control and recycling in the oil and gas, waste, and other sectors; and
    • revising the regulations and related methodologies for China’s voluntary GHG emissions reduction mechanisms, supporting eligible methane emissions reduction projects to be incorporated into voluntary GHG trading mechanisms, and use market forces to encourage enterprises to implement methane emissions reduction measures.
  • Strengthening access to and accuracy of methane data; improving the monitoring, reporting, and verification system for methane emissions from key sectors; promoting the collection and analysis of methane emissions data from key facilities; tracking and assessing the effectiveness of methane emissions reduction measures in key regions and key enterprises; improving the reporting system for methane-related data in the statistical reporting system for addressing climate change; and continuously improving methane-emissions data quality.
  • Performing demonstration projects for methane emissions control; continuing to encourage voluntary methane emissions reduction actions in key sectors; encouraging localities and enterprises to cooperate on methane emissions control; and promoting the development of methane utilization technologies, equipment, and industries, understanding that such actions can achieve multiple benefits in GHG emissions reduction, resource utilization, and pollutant control.
  • Strengthening international cooperation in key areas, including on methane control policies, technologies, and standardization systems, monitoring, reporting, and verification systems, and technology innovation for emissions reduction.

MEE also mentioned during the press conference that China and the U.S. will move forward with establishing the “Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s,” (mentioned in paragraph 16 of the U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s), will carry out exchanges on policies and technologies, identify programs and projects in areas of mutual interest, organize intergovernmental and non-governmental expert meetings, and promote the participation of local governments, enterprises, think tanks, scholars, and other experts.

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On 15 November 2021, the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the 14th Five-Year Plan on Industry Green Development (“Plan”). The Plan provides key targets, action items, and mechanisms for the green transformation of China’s industrial sectors. These sectors will play a significant role in achieving China’s goals of peaking carbon emissions before 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality before 2060.

Key targets in the Plan

The Plan’s targets include:

  • Reducing CO2 emissions per unit of added industrial value by 18% by 2025;
  • Reducing the emissions intensity of major pollutants in key industries by 10% by 2025;
  • Increasing the comprehensive reutilization rate of bulk industrial solid waste to 57% by 2025; and
  • Reaching “international advanced levels” by 2025 with respect to the energy efficiency of crude steel, cement, ethylene, and other key industrial sectors.

The Plan also addresses emissions of non-CO2 climate pollutants

Of particular note, the Plan calls for:

  • Implementing the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
  • Launching the next-phase management plan for phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in key sectors, including polyurethane foam, extrusion-based styrene foam, and industrial and commercial air conditioning sectors;
  • Promoting the recycling and reuse of industrial solid waste and waste water;
  • Advancing the clean production transformation of key industrial sources of emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in order to achieve the synergistic control of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone emissions; and
  • Developing and deploying technologies for reutilization of agricultural waste such as crop straw and livestock waste for energy generation.

To ensure implementation, the Plan also calls for strengthening regulatory requirements through amendment of statutes and promulgation of regulations, as well as increasing financial incentives for industry green transformation.

International cooperation also plays a part in the Plan. The Plan promotes the cooperation and exchange with relevant international organizations in the field of green manufacturing, the development of a green Belt and Road Initiative, the expansion of green trade, and accelerated internationalization of standards and certification for, and labelling of green products.

Additional IGSD China resources:

GLASGOW – Alongside 11 NGOs, we call on negotiators to elevate methane mitigation in in the final CMA decision. Our statement:

“Limiting warming to 1.5 °C. requires rapid and sustained reductions of emissions from methane and other non-CO2 short-lived climate pollutants, along with rapid and sustained reductions in CO2 emissions. 

This is the conclusion of the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C. It also is the conclusion of UNEP & Climate & Clean Air Coalition (2021) Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions.  And it is the conclusion of AR 6.

It is not possible to slow warming in the critical next decade or two without reducing the non-CO2 climate pollutants. We urge COP26 negotiators to reflect these scientific conclusions and build on the momentum of the Global Methane Pledge in the final CMA decision.”

This statement comes just a week after the launch of the Global Methane Pledge in Glasgow.

The pledge commits signatories to a collective goal of reducing methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. The U.S. and EU announced it in September and have so far recruited more than 100 world governments to join.

Reducing methane emissions is required to keep the planet from warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, helping to maintain a safe climate. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), methane is responsible for about half of the 1.0 degree Celsius net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era, and action to rapidly cut methane pollution is the clearest opportunity humanity has to reduce the amount of warming Earth will experience in the next 20 years.

Supporting groups

Article illustrates a new climate strategy of applying China’s Same-Line Policy to exported ACs

An Opportunity That Should Not Be Missed: Applying Chinese Policy That Promotes Efficient Air Conditioning to Countries That Need It (Sustainable Development Law & Policy, Spring 2021) highlights the climate and industry benefits that can be gained through expansion of China’s “Same Line, Same Standard and Same Quality Policy.” This Policy encourages manufacturers to sell products within China that were produced for overseas markets according to standards exceeding those for products produced for the Chinese market. 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 climate-harmful activities to continue.

The article illustrates a new strategy to help mitigate climate-harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Coordinated international action on energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling could avoid as much as 460 billion tonnes of GHG emissions – roughly equal to eight years of global emissions at 2018 levels – over the next four decades. The strategy applies the Same-Line Policy to ACs (including energy-consuming AC components) that China-based companies export, so that the efficiency of the exported ACs shall at least meet China’s minimum energy performance standards. Such a strategy is particularly powerful when applied to products destined for importing countries that either lack any minimum energy performance standards for such products or have minimum energy performance standards which are lower than those applied to such products in China.

This new strategy is in China’s and the world’s interests because it facilitates efforts to avoid climate change’s existential threat to a livable planet Earth. Furthermore, it is in line with provisions in China’s recently released policies, including the Working Guidance for Carbon Dioxide Peaking and Carbon Neutrality in Full and Faithful Implementation of the New Development Philosophy. The Working Guidance provides that China will “strictly manage the export of high energy-consuming and high-emission products.” In applying the Same-Line Policy to exported ACs, China would take a substantial first step in helping move the Working Guidance from policy statement to concrete action.

The article is co-authored by IGSD attorneys Xiaopu Sun and Richard Ferris, in collaboration with Professor Houfu Yan from Beijing Normal University and Professor Shekun Wang from China Northwest University.

Download full article here.

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