The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, has given its approval for ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer for phase down of Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) by India, adopted by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on October, 2016 at 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol held at Kigali, Rwanda.
- HFC phasedown is expected to prevent the greenhouse gas emissions, helping prevent climate change and would benefit the people.
- The industry producing and consuming Hydrofluorocarbons will be phasing out Hydrofluorocarbons as per the agreed schedule under and transition to non-HFC and low global warming potential technologies.
Implementation strategy and targets:
- National strategy for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons as per the applicable phase down schedule for India will be developed after required consultation with all the industry stakeholders by 2023.
- Amendments to the existing legislation framework, the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules to allow appropriate control of the production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons to ensure compliance with the Kigali Amendment will be done by mid-2024.
Major Impact, including employment generation potential:
- Hydrofluorocarbons. phasedown is expected to prevent the emission of up to 105 million tonne of carbondioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases, helping to avoid up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
- Implementation of HFC phase down under the Kigali Amendment through the adoption of low-global warming potential and energy-efficient technologies will achieve energy efficiency gains^ and carbon dioxide emissions reduction – a “climate co-benefit,”
- (HFCs phrase down implementation will involve synergies with on-going government programmes and schemes of the Government of India with the objective to maximize the economic arid social co-benefits, besides environmental gains.
- There would be scope for domestic manufacturing of equipment as well as alternative non-HFC and low-global warming potential chemicals to enable the industry to transition to the low global warming potential alternatives as per the agreed HFC phase down schedule. In addition, there would be opportunities to promote domestic innovation for new generation alternative refrigerants and related technologies.
- Under the Kigali Amendment; Parties to the Montreal Protocol will phase down production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons, commonly known as HFCs.
- Hydrofluorocarbons were introduced as non-ozone depleting alternative to Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). While HFCs do not deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, they have high global warming potential ranging from 12 to 14,000, which have adverse impact on climate.
- Recognizing the growth in use of HFCs, especially in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning sector the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, reached agreement at their 28th Meeting of the Parties (MOP) held in October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda to add HFCs to the list of controlled substances and approved a timeline for their gradual reduction by 80-85 per cent by the late 2040s.
- India will complete its phase down of HFCs in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 85% in 2047.
- All amendments and adjustments of the Montreal Protocol, prior to the Kigali Amendment have Universal support.
- The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, is an international environmental treaty for protection of the Ozone Layer by phasing out the production and consumption of man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS).
- The stratospheric ozone\ layer protects humans: and the environment from harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
- India became a Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer on 19 June 1992 and since then has ratified the amendments to the Montreal Protocol. Though the present approval of the Cabinet, India will be ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons.
- India has successfully met the phase out targets of all the Ozone Depleting Substances as per the Montreal Protocol Schedule.
Back to Basics
The Kigali Amendment
- In 2016, countries agreed to include HFCs in the list of controlled substances under Montreal Protocol and decided on a schedule for its phase-down.
- Before the middle of this century, current HFC use has to be curtailed by at least 85 per cent. Countries have different timelines to do this. India has to achieve this target by 2047 while the developed countries have to do it by 2036. China and some other countries have a target of 2045.
- While the reductions for the rich countries have to begin immediately, India, and some other countries, have to begin cutting their HFC use only from 2031.
- If implemented successfully, the Kigali Amendment is expected to prevent about 0.5°C rise in global warming by the end of this century.
- No other single intervention to cut greenhouse gas emissions comes even close to this in terms of returns offered and the ease of implementation.
- It is thus considered crucial to achieving the Paris Agreement target of restricting temperature rise to within 2°C from pre-industrial times.
- The UNEP estimates that, with Kigali Amendment, the avoided emissions could touch 420 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by the end of the century.
- India had played a key role in negotiating the Kigali Amendment. It had fought hard to get an extended timeline for itself, and some other countries, for the reduction of HFC use. This was considered important for the domestic industry which was still in the process of transitioning from HCFCs to HFCs.
- The climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs are not yet widely available at low cost. The extended timeline was meant to give the industry some cushion to make the transition.
- Despite being one of the main architects of the Kigali Amendment, India was the last major country to announce its decision to ratify it. There wasn’t ever any doubt over its ratification, and it was more like a waiting game to see what China or the United States did.
- In the meanwhile, however, India had unveiled an ambitious action plan for the cooling industry which accounts for the phase-out of HFCs.
- The 20-year ‘India Cooling Action Plan’, or ICAP, released in 2019, describes cooling as a “developmental need” and seeks to address the rising demand in cooling, from buildings to transport to cold-chains, through sustainable actions. The plan estimates that the national cooling demand would grow eight times in the next 20 years, which would result in a corresponding five to eight-fold rise in the demand for refrigerants that involve the use of HFCs.
- The ICAP aims to bring down the refrigerant demand by 25 to 30 per cent in the next 20 years.
- As part of the ICAP, the government has also announced targeted R&D efforts aimed at developing low-cost alternatives to HFCs. Such efforts are already underway at the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and IIT Bombay.
- The 1989 Montreal Protocol is not a climate agreement.
- It is instead aimed at protecting the earth from ozone-destroying chemicals like the chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, that were earlier used in the air-conditioning and refrigerant industry.
- The widespread use of CFCs had caused a hole in the Ozone layer of the atmosphere, which allowed some harmful radiations to reach the earth. These radiations were considered potential health hazards.
- The Montreal Protocol led to the replacement of CFCs with HFCs which do not destroy the Ozone layer. But they were later found to be extremely potent in causing global warming.
- So, the HFCs solved one problem, but were contributing in a major way in another. But theses could not be eliminated under the original provisions of Montreal Protocol which was meant to phase-out ozone-destroying chemicals only.
- The Kigali Amendment enabled the Montreal Protocol to mandate the elimination of HFCs as well.
- HFCs, though benign to the ozone layer, were powerful greenhouse gases.
- With global warming emerging as one of the biggest global challenges in the new millennium, the use of HFCs came under the scanner.
- HFCs still form a small part of the total greenhouse gas emissions, but with air-conditioning demand showing a significant increase, especially in countries like India, their use is rising at about 8% every year.
- If left unabated, their contribution to annual greenhouse gas emissions is expected to reach up to 19% by 2050.
- Because HFCs were not ozone-depleting, they were not controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol.
- They were part of the problematic greenhouse gases whose emissions are sought to be curtailed through climate change instruments such as the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the 2015 Paris Agreement.
- But the Montreal Protocol has been a far more effective and successful agreement than the climate change instruments. It has already resulted in the phase-out of 98.6% of ozone-depleting substances.
- The remaining 1.4% are the HCFCs that are in the process of being transitioned.
- Accordingly, it was decided to use the Montreal Protocol to phase out HFCs as well, rather than leave them at the mercy of climate change agreements. For that to happen, an amendment to the Montreal Protocol was required.
Environment Current Affairs : Click Here