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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Montreal Protocol: Kigali Amendment to phase down ‘super polluting’ HFCs

Climate Action Network (CAN), a global network of over 1,200 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on Saturday saluted the outcome from the Montreal Protocol talks in Kigali, Rwanda as countries agree to phase down “super greenhouse gases” known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

A session during the 8th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol that held in Kigali, Rwanda
A session during the 8th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol that held in Kigali, Rwanda

The group has described the development as a critical step towards limiting warming and as “the single biggest climate action of the year”. It comes just weeks before leaders meet in Morocco for the yearly international climate talks.

The amendment establishes three different timetables for all developed and developing countries to freeze and then reduce their production and use of HFCs.

Developed countries agreed to make their first HFC cuts by 2019. Developed nations have also committed to provide additional funds through the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund. China, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, and more than 100 other developing countries have committed to freeze their HFC production and use by 2024, and make further reductions thereafter. India, Gulf States, and Pakistan have agreed to make HFC reductions on a slower track.

“It is crucial that in the coming years countries work towards transitioning to energy efficient and environment friendly alternatives. The agreed technology review will help with rapid maturity of alternatives and enable countries to strengthen their actions,” the group states.

It points out that the news from Kigali on HFCs as well as the recent outcome on aviation emissions shows that governments are taking the objective of the Paris Agreement seriously. It hopes that countries will accelerate their national ambition over time but soon enough to give a fighting chance for the world to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 C.

Representatives form civil society organisations are already reacting to the agreement.

David Doniger, NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air programme director: “This is a major breakthrough: The world has come together to curb climate-wrecking super-pollutant HFCs. This is the biggest step we can take in the year after the Paris agreement against the widening threats from climate change. And bringing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol sends a clear signal to the global marketplace to start replacing these dangerous chemicals with a new generation of climate-friendly and energy-efficient alternatives.”

Paula Tejón Carbajal, Global strategist, Greenpeace International: “The success of this agreement will be determined by how much developing countries can leapfrog HFCs and how much countries can avoid yet another chemical alternative like toxic HFOs and adopt natural refrigerants. This will be decisive in the coming months and years.”

Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE: “The agreement reflects the willingness of all parties to take action on climate change. What we have achieved at Kigali is the beginning. We can build on this success and further enhance the climate actions by countries under the Montreal Protocol and in other climate agreements, especially the Paris Agreement.”

Benson Ireri, Senior Policy Advisor, Christian Aid: “To aid the switch to newer and safer natural refrigerants, sufficient funding will be required through the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to enable poorer countries to invest in the new technology. It is vital that developed countries also share their progress on technological breakthroughs.”

Clare Perry, Climate Campaign Leader, Environmental Investigation Agency: “The Kigali Amendment, just prior to the adoption of the Paris Agreement, brings concrete global action to fight catastrophic global warming. Still, with billions of tonnes of emissions still up for grabs, the ultimate success of the Kigali amendment will depend on accelerating the removal of these industrial climate-killers in upcoming meetings.”

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