From: Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development
Published September 10, 2013 01:03 PM

G-20 countries join US and China to support phasing down HFCs under Montreal Protocol
US and China agree to launch formal negotiations on HFC phase down under Montreal Protocol
Climate optimism resurrected today

St Petersburg 6 Sept 2013 – Today President Obama negotiated two separate agreements, one with the G-20 and one with China, to phase down the super greenhouse gasses called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  The G-20 Leaders Declaration announced support for initiatives that are complementary to efforts under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, while retaining HFCs within the scope of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions.


The G-20 agreement included Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union, as well as Ethiopia, Spain, Senegal, Brunei, Kazakhstan, and Singapore.


Previously, Argentina, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia had been unwilling to support the HFC amendment under the Montreal Protocol.


“The G-20 agreement leaves little if any opposition to the HFC amendment,” stated Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.  "This is the biggest climate prize available to the world in the next few years, providing mitigation equivalent to 100 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 and avoiding up to nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 Celsius) in warming by 2100.  It also will help build the momentum we need to negotiate a strong climate treaty in 2015 to go into effect in 2020,” added Zaelke.  “Climate optimism was resurrected today by President Obama and the other G-20 leaders.”


HFCs are the fastest growing greenhouse gases in the US, China, India, and many other countries.


The announcement comes on the heels of an agreement reached earlier today between the U.S. and China to open formal negotiations on the details of the amendment to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.  The agreement took place on the margins of the G-20 Summit and builds on an earlier agreement between President Xi Jinping and President Obama.  (See IGSD press release 13 June 2013)


"The high-level agreement between the US and China earlier in the day and now this agreement by the G-20 leadership shows how effective climate policy can be when it's done at the leader level," Zaelke added.  "This is part of a sophisticated effort by the Obama Administration to move climate policy to the leader level, where it belongs.


"President Obama and Secretary Kerry are moving the US back into position as a positive force in the climate battle, something we haven't seen since the Copenhagen climate summit back in 2009,” he added. “The President’s leader-focused strategy is paying off big time.”


The G-20 also the acknowledged the importance of International Complementary Initiatives and multilateral approaches to support the “the full implementation of the agreed outcomes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its ongoing negotiations.”


“We are seeing a fundamental shift in climate policy today,” stated Zaelke. Since 2005 IGSD has championed “fast-action” climate mitigation strategies using existing laws and institutions, starting with the Montreal Protocol, to solve pieces of the climate problem. IGSD’s focus has been primarily on strategies to cut HFCs and other short-lived climate pollutants, including black carbon, methane, and tropospheric ozone, to complement cuts in CO2, which is responsible for more than half of all warming. Strategies to cut the short-lived climate pollutants can cut the rate of global warming in half and the rate of warming in the fragile Arctic by two-thirds.


The G-20 Leaders’ Declaration is here


The White House G-20 Press Release is here


The US-China Agreement Press Release is here


###


The G20 LEADERS’ DECLARATION issued today commits the G20 leaders to working together to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol:


Pursuing the Fight against Climate Change


101. We are committed to support the full implementation of the agreed outcomes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its ongoing negotiations. We strongly welcome the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to mobilize political will through 2014 towards the successful adoption of a protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all Parties by 2015, during COP-21 that France stands ready to host. We also support complementary initiatives, through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and the institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), based on the examination of economically viable and technically feasible alternatives. We will continue to include HFCs within the scope of UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions.


THE WHITE HOUSE


Office of the Press Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


September 6, 2013


United States and China Reach Agreement on Phase Down of HFCs


Building on their June 8 accord on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in Sunnylands, President Obama and President Xi agreed at their bilateral meeting as a next step to establish a contact group under the Montreal Protocol on HFCs to consider issues related to cost-effectiveness, financial and technology support, safety, environmental benefits, and an amendment to the Montreal Protocol.


The agreement between President Obama and President Xi on HFCs reads as follows:


We reaffirm our announcement on June 8, 2013 that the United States and China agreed to work together and with other countries through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, while continuing to include HFCs within the scope of UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol provisions for accounting and reporting of emissions.  We emphasize the importance of the Montreal Protocol, including as a next step through the establishment of an open-ended contact group to consider all relevant issues, including financial and technology support to Article 5 developing countries, cost effectiveness, safety of substitutes, environmental benefits, and an amendment.  We reiterate our firm commitment to work together and with other countries to agree on a multilateral solution.


THE WHITE HOUSE


Office of the Press Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


September 6, 2013


United States, China, and Leaders of G-20 Countries Announce Historic Progress Toward a Global Phase Down of HFCs


 Today, President Obama reached separate agreements with the G-20 and with China to combat global climate change by addressing the rapid growth in the use and release of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).


Two statements on HFCs were released today, one in the context of the G20 Leaders’ Declaration and one bilaterally with China.


First, G-20 leaders expressed their support for initiatives that are complementary to efforts under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, while retaining HFCs within the scope of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions.


This was agreed by the following countries:  Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey,the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, as well as Ethiopia, Spain, Senegal, Brunei, Kazakhstan, and Singapore.


The G-20 agreement on HFCs reads as follows:


We also support complementary initiatives, through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and the institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), based on the examination of economically viable and technically feasible alternatives.  We will continue to include HFCs within the scope of UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions.


Second, building on their June 8 accord on HFCs in Sunnylands, President Obama and President Xi agreed at their bilateral meeting as a next step on HFCs to establish a contact group under the Montreal Protocol to consider issues related to cost-effectiveness, financial and technology support, safety, environmental benefits, and an amendment to the Montreal Protocol.


The agreement between President Obama and President Xi on HFCs reads as follows:


We reaffirm our announcement on June 8, 2013 that the United States and China agreed to work together and with other countries through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, while continuing to include HFCs within the scope of UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol provisions for accounting and reporting of emissions. We emphasize the importance of the Montreal Protocol, including as a next step through the establishment of an open-ended contact group to consider all relevant issues, including financial and technology support to Article 5 developing countries, cost effectiveness, safety of substitutes, environmental benefits and an amendment. We reiterate our firm commitment to work together and with other countries to agree on a multilateral solution.


Background:


HFCs are potent greenhouse gases used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and industrial applications. While they do not deplete the ozone layer, many are highly potent greenhouse gases whose use is growing rapidly as replacements for ozone-depleting substances being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. Left unabated, HFC emissions could grow to nearly 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, a serious climate mitigation concern.


The Montreal Protocol was established in 1987 to protect the ozone layer. Every country in the world is a party to the Protocol, and it has successfully phased out or is in the process of phasing out several key classes of chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and halons. The transitions out of CFCs and HCFCs provide major ozone layer protection benefits, but the unintended consequence is the rapid current and projected future growth of climate-damaging HFCs.


For the past four years, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have proposed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs. The amendment would reduce consumption and production and control byproduct emissions of HFCs in all countries, and includes a financial assistance component for countries that can already access the Protocol’s Multilateral Fund.  The proposal leaves unchanged the reporting and accounting provisions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol on HFC emissions.


Reducing HFCs are an important domestic component of the President’s Climate Action Plan, as well.  For example, the Administration has already acted domestically by including a flexible and powerful incentive in fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for cars and trucks to encourage automakers to reduce HFC leakage and transition away from the most potent HFCs in vehicle air conditioning systems. Moving forward, the Environmental Protection Agency will use its authority through the Significant New Alternatives Policy Program to encourage private sector investment in low-emissions technology by identifying and approving climate-friendly chemicals while prohibiting certain uses of the most harmful chemical alternatives. In addition, the President has directed his Administration to purchase cleaner alternatives to HFCs whenever feasible and transition over time to equipment that uses safer and more sustainable alternatives.



Contact Info: Durwood Zaelke (202) 498-2457, zaelke@inece.org;
Erin Tulley (202) 338-1300, etulley@igsd.org


Website : Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development


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