Montreal Protocol Current Affairs - 2020

Union Cabinet approves India’s negotiating position adopted at Kigali conference to Montreal Protocol

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the negotiating position adopted by India at the recent 28th Meeting of Parties (MoP) to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda.

The negotiations at Kigali meet held in October 2016 were aimed at including HFCs in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol.

The Union Cabinet has approved baseline and freeze years proposal of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest (MoEFCC) over the issue of phasing down the climate-damaging refrigerants hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as negotiated in Kigali meet.

Key Facts

  • In the Kigali meet, India had successfully negotiated the baseline years within a range of 2024 to 2030 and freeze year in subsequent years for phasing down the use of HFCs.
  • It had two set of baselines years were agreed for developing countries. India along with nine other countries will have baseline years of 2024, 2025, 2026.
  • India will completely phase down of HFCs in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 85% in 2047
  • It also gives additional HCFC allowance of 65% that will be added to the Indian baseline consumption and production.
  • Other developing countries including China (largest producer of HFCs in the world), South Africa and Brazil opted for 2020-22 baseline.
  • The developed countries on the other will hand reduce use of HFCs over a 2011-13 baseline and will reduce production and consumption of HFCs by 70% in 2029.
  • The freeze year for India will be 2028 and it will be with a condition that there will be a technology review in 2024/2025.
  • India’s position was mainly aimed at allowing sufficient room for growth of its domestic sectors using refrigerants.

Background

  • The Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention for Protection of Ozone Layer which entered force in January 1989 aimed to phase out the ozone depleting substances (ODS).
  • At Kigali, it was decide to include HFCs in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol in order to regulate their production, consumption and phasing them out with time.
  • It also added mechanism to provide financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund created under the Montreal Protocol.
  • Under it, funding for R&D and servicing sector in developing countries also was included in the agreed solutions on finance.
  • Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol also for the first time will incentivise improvement in energy efficiency in case of use of new refrigerant and technology.
  • Note: HFCs are not ODS but potent global warming substances and controlling them can contribute substantially to limit global temperature and advance actions for addressing climate change.

Historic Global Greenhouse gas emission Agreement signed in Kigali

A historic global climate deal was reached in Kigali, Rwanda at the Twenty-Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP28).

The so called Kigali Amendment which amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol aims to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s.

Under Kigali Amendment, in all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.

What are Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)?

  • HFCs are a family of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are largely used in refrigerants in home, car air-conditioners and air sprays etc.
  • These factory-made gases had replaced CFCs under the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect Earth’s fragile protective Ozone layer and heal the ozone hole over the Antartica.

Why they are harmful?

  • In recent times, it was found that HFCs have several thousand times capacity in retaining heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent GHG.
  • Thus, it can be said that HFCs have helped ozone layer but exacerbated global warming.
  • Currently, HFCs are currently the world’s fastest GHGs, with emissions increasing by up to 10% each year.

What is significance of the Kigali Amendment?

  • The Kigali Amendment amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol that was designed to close growing ozone hole in by banning ozone-depleting coolants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • Thus, amended Montreal Protocol which was initially conceived only to plug gases that were destroying the ozone layer now includes HFCs responsible for global warming.
  • This move will help to prevent a potential 0.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century.
  • The Kigali Agreement or amended Montreal Protocol for HFCs reduction will be binding on countries from 2019.
  • It also has provisions for penalties for non-compliance. Under it, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support estimated at billions of dollars globally.
  • The exact amount of additional funding from developed countries will be agreed at the next Meeting of the Parties in Montreal in 2017.

Different timelines under Kigali Amendment

  • All signatory countries have been divided into three groups with different timelines to go about reductions of HFCs.
  • First group: It includes richest countries like US and those in European Union (EU). They will freeze production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. They will reduce them to about 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
  • Second group: It includes countries like China, Brazil and all of Africa etc. They will freeze HFC use by 2024 and cut it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.
  • Third group: It includes countries India, Pakistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc. They will be freezing HFC use by 2028 and reducing it to about 15% of 2025 levels by 2047.

How it is different from Paris agreement?

  • The Paris agreement which will come into force by 2020 is not legally binding on countries to cut their emissions.
  • The Kigali Amendment is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.