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India has formally proposed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to enable a complete phase-out of HFCs.

With a surprising and major move, India submitted a formal proposal to amend the Montreal Protocolto phase down HFCs, saying the country wants to stop the production and consumption of these gases using “expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol and continue to include HFCs within the scope of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions”.

The amendment proposal is in line with an assurance India gave to the United States during Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September 2014, and, according to the president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) Durwood Zaelke, it shows that the Indian Prime Minister can be “a leading climate voice on the global stage”.

Also, with India becoming the leader of the HFC phase down, the amendment is likely to enter into force at the November Meeting of the Parties, and this could boost the UN Paris climate negotiations in December.

However, India insisted that the phase out of the HFCs will depend on “flexibilities in terms of choice of alternative technologies and timeframe for transitioning to safe, technically proven, energy-efficient and economically and commercially viable technologies”; notably, the country subordinated its amendment proposal to the grant of a transition period of 15 years so that domestic industries get enough time to develop feasible alternatives.

The Montreal Protocol – signed by India in 1992 – deals only with Ozone-depleting substances, and since the HFS does not deplete the Ozone hitherto it has not been considered as falling under its scope. In fact, it is listed as one of the greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol, but this Protocol – unlike the Montreal one – is not binding for developing countries such as India.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are commonly used in refrigerators, air conditioners and insulating foams, and are gases with a substantial global warming potential, much higher than carbon dioxide’s.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Friday, 24 April 2015

(Source: Times of India)