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Montreal Protocol makes progress on HFCs

But India fails to honour G20 promise

| | Oct 27, 2013 | 11:55 am
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But India fails to honour G20 promise

The Parties to the Montreal Protocol made progress towards addressing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), as the 25th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol drew to a close in Bangkok on October 25, with a majority of parties demonstrating their willingness to move towards a global agreement. Announcing this in a communiqué, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) added that this was despite India, the world’s 10th largest economy, blocking detailed discussions of the proposals, in contradiction of the recent G20 agreement to address phasing down the consumption and production of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.

A global phase-down of HFCs would mitigate at least 100 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2050, the EIA pointed out. Giving details, it said that the Parties agreed that the Montreal Protocol’s technical and economic panel should prepare a report looking at the economic costs and environmental benefits of various scenarios of avoiding HFCs, and that it would hold a workshop on the management of HFCs with the next Montreal Protocol preparatory meeting.

According to EIA, after years of deadlock, support for global action on HFCs gathered pace since the beginning of the year, from the Arctic Council’s call for a phase-down of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol in March and the G20 leaders’ statement at the St Petersburg summit in September to two separate presidential agreements between China and US in June and September, and, most recently, the joint declaration by Presidents Manmohan Singh and Obama, establishing a task force to resolve issues surrounding an HFC phase-down.

Clare Perry, Senior Campaigner, EIA, remarking about India’s stand said, “We’re struggling to understand how a commitment by Prime Minister Singh barely a month ago has not translated into concrete action in Bangkok.”

On a positive note, Mark W Roberts, Senior Counsel and International Policy Advisor at EIA’s US office, said, “We are pleased that the entire group of African countries has joined the growing chorus of countries requesting formal discussions on phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.”

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