Montreal Protocol: Call for show of leadership as ministers converge for high-level talks on phasing down HFCs

12 October 2016

12 October 2016, Kigali: Negotiations to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase-down HFCs enter a critical stage as nearly 40 ministers arrive in Kigali (Rwanda) on Thursday to attend the high-level discussions. Hydrofluorocarbons are the fastest growing greenhouse gases in many countries.
An agreement to halt their growth and to rapidly transition to energy efficient and climate-friendly alternatives can avoid warming of up to 0.5 degrees warming by the end of the century. This would greatly increase our chances to meet the world’s climate goal, to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.    

“Climate Action Network urges leaders use this occasion to come together to strike an ambitious deal to cut down on these heat-trapping “super pollutants” and reaffirm the commitment they made in Paris to use every opportunity they have to tackle climate change. A success in Kigali can really raise the bar for greater ambition on global climate action in the years ahead,” said Wael Hmaidan, International Director, Climate Action Network  
In the Paris Agreement, national leaders promised to try their hardest to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. However, those promises will ring hollow if we don’t get an early date for the global phase down of HFCs.  These chemicals are thousands of times more potent than C0₂ as a greenhouse gas and are increasing in use by 10-15% a year.”

Benson Ireri, Christian Aid’s Senior Policy Officer for Africa, said: “It’s fitting that ministers will be arriving here at the summit in the coming days because it is their government’s credibility that will be on the line if we don’t get a good outcome. Vulnerable countries do not have time to wait, the climate is changing fast and phasing down HFCs is something which we absolutely must do if we’re going to honour the pledges of the Paris Agreement. It would be an embarrassing start if the Agreement came into force next month and countries had failed their first test by delivering a feeble deal on HFCs.

This week the Montreal Protocol has rapidly moved closer to an amendment that will build significantly on climate action committed under the Paris Agreement. Although we’ve made progress on the important issue of baselines in the negotiations, time is scarce, and barely three negotiating days remain to reach the ambition necessary to achieve the 0.5 degree contribution to avoided warming that we desperately need.” said Avipsa Mahapatra, Climate Campaign Lead, Environmental Investigation Agency (US).  “It is pivotal that all Parties agree to an early freeze date for HFC production and consumption and that sufficient funding and flexibility mechanisms are made available to enable such action in developing countries.”

Conditions are ripe for reaching an ambitious agreement to phase-down HFCs this week. The technology to transition to energy efficient and climate-friendly alternatives is already available. As the talks progress, most developing countries are displaying ambition and are ready for a freeze starting in the first half of the next decade. Developed countries are also supporting early action and pledging adequate funding to developing countries through the Multilateral Fund,” said Bhaskar Deol, NRDC India Representative.

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