Kigali Agreement to phase out HFCs reached

Oct 18, 2016 15:25 IST

Envoys of more than 170 countries in Kigali, Rwanda on 15 October 2016 agreed to phase down use and production of potent greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 2045. The agreement amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that depletes the Ozone Layer.

The Kigali Amendment is a timetable to phase-out production and consumption of the potent greenhouse gases of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 2045. It was reached at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP28). It is a move to prevent a potential 0.5 C rise in global temperature by 2050.

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Highlights of the Agreement

• The agreement adds HFCs into the list of gases that is responsible for global warming and results in destroying the ozone layer. These potent greenhouse gases are generally used in refrigerators and air-conditioners.

• Developed countries should reduce their use of HFCs by 10 percent by 2019 from 2011-2013 levels and then by 85 percent by 2036.

• Developing Countries were segmented and their targets are

a) Developing countries like China and African nations will have to launch the transition in 2024. These countries will have to reduce HFCs production by 10 percent by 2029 as compared to 2020-2022. It will have to extend the reduction of the same to 80 percent by 2045.

b) Developing countries like India, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Arab Gulf states will have to begin the process of transition in 2028. They will have to reduce emissions by 10 percent by 2032 from 2024-2026 levels, and then by 85 percent by 2047.
Comment: Replacing HFCs, which is catastrophic for global warming, would prove a costly affair for developing nations because of lack of alternatives along with technology.

Earlier on 13 October, India announced its decision to eliminate production and consumption of HCF-23, a potent greenhouse gas, with Global Warming Potential of 14800. The gas is produced during the manufacture of a common refrigerant gas, HCFC-22.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

• It is a family of gases that are largely used in refrigerants in home and car air-conditioners.

• They are the gases that substantially worsen global warming as they are 3830 times more potent than CO2 with a lifetime of 14 years.

• HFCs were the replacement of CFCs, which were replaced under the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect Earth’s fragile protective Ozone layer and heal the ozone hole over the Antarctica.

• A study by the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development released in 2015 says that elimination of HFCs could reduce global warming by 0.5 degrees by 2100.

Montreal Protocol

Montreal Protocol was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer. The original Montreal Protocol was agreed on 16 September 1987 and entered into force on 1 January 1989.

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