Countries Agree To Amend Montreal Protocol in Largest Climate Breakthrough since Paris
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced October 15, 2016, that the federal government has joined nearly 200 countries in signing on to the Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer designed to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are currently the world's fastest growing greenhouse gases, their emissions increasing by up to 10 per cent each year. The rapid growth has been driven by a growing demand for cooling, particularly in developing countries with a fast-expanding middle class and hot climates. HFCs are also one of the most powerful GHGs, trapping thousands of times more heat in the Earth's atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2).
Following seven years of negotiations, the 197 Montreal Protocol parties reached a compromise which will allow countries with high ambient temperatures to phase out HFCs at a slower pace. Under the plan, developed countries will start to phase down HFCs by 2019. Developing countries will follow with a freeze of HFCs consumption levels in 2024, with some countries freezing consumption in 2028.
By the late 2040s, all countries are expected to consume no more than 15-20 per cent of their respective baselines. As part of its commitment Canada will:
- propose regulations to significantly reduce HFC consumption and prohibit the manufacture and import into Canada of certain products containing HFCs;
- will continue to implement measures to increase the recovery, recycling, and destruction of HFCs in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment; and
- establish regulatory provisions for an HFC-reporting system.