The European Union (EU) submitted a proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol to control hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, fire protection, aerosols and foams.
The EU move follows similar proposals submitted since 2009 by the USA, Canada, Mexico and Micronesia, and would significantly reduce HFCs in developed countries by following a phase-down schedule closely matching the EU F-Gas Regulation, groundbreaking legislation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2014.
“The EU clearly expects developed countries to lead by example,” said Clare Perry, Head of Climate at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). “The EU has upped the ante significantly and is now calling on other developed countries to match it.”
In developing countries, the EU proposes a new approach, aimed at initially limiting the growth of HFCs, followed by an agreement to negotiate a phase-down schedule by 2020.
“The EU proposal is trying to be sensitive to the fact that HFCs are generally used to replace ozone-depleting HCFCs, which developing countries have only just begun to phase-out under the Montreal Protocol,” said Perry.
“For this reason, HFCs cannot be considered in isolation and this is the first proposal to try and address that specifically within an HFC amendment proposal – as such, it has the potential to unlock negotiations.”
The EU estimates global cumulative reductions in all countries would amount to 127 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (Gt CO2-eq) over 40 years.
The EU proposal will be considered at the upcoming Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in Paris in July, and again at the Meeting of the Parties in Dubai in November.