India gets more time than China to phase out HFCs
NEW DELHI: India has succeeded in extracting a longer time frame for phasing out hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) gases as against China and developed countries.
At the 28th Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali in Rwanda, 197 countries on Saturday agreed to slash the use of the climate-damaging gases.
Used in refrigerants and air conditioners, HFCs, also known as “super pollutant gases”, have a global warming potential thousand times that of carbon dioxide.
As per the agreement, three different schedules have been set for countries to freeze and then reduce their production and use of HFCs.
Developed countries, led by the US and Europe, will reduce HFC use by 85% by 2036 over a 2011-13 baseline while China, the largest HFC producer, along with other developing countries, will reduce it by 80% by 2045 over a 2020-22 baseline. India, along with Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, will do it by 85% by 2047 over a 2024-26 baseline.
HT had first reported on Monday that India had sought to differentiate China from other developing countries and proposed the three different timelines.
While it had earlier proposed a baseline of 2028-30 for itself, it expressed readiness to move ahead if developed countries and China took earlier actions.
China had agreed to an early baseline of 2020-22, but wanted other developing countries to follow the same baseline.
Developed countries, through the protocol’s funding channels, tried to incentivise an early phase-out for the developing nations by proposing an energy efficiency fund for early adopters.
Calling it a pressure tactic, India objected to this and suggested that it either be extended to the other developing countries that favour a later baseline or be scrapped altogether. India proposed a revised roadmap on the final day which was supported by various developing countries. The agreement was finally reached after several meetings between the US, India and other countries.
India also announced domestic action on HFC-23 (trifluoro-methane), a super greenhouse gas produced as a by-product of HCFC-22 (chloro-difluoro-methane), the most commonly used refrigerant in India. Under the new domestic law, India has mandated its manufacturers to capture and incinerate HFC-23 so that it is not released into the atmosphere. This action will eliminate the release of HFC-23 equivalent to about 100 million tonne of CO2 emissions over the next 15 years. Experts have welcomed the deal and hope that industries, especially in China, would start replacing HFCs with “a new generation of climate-friendly and energy-efficient alternatives”.