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Fight against climate change- Amending the Montreal Protocol at Kaigali 206

The Paris agreement ratification has a great significance in the fight against climate change where it has set the goal of keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Now, the eyes are on the annual climate change conference (CoP 22) that begins in Marrakech (Morocco) where countries will get down to finalise the rules and institutions that will govern implementation of Paris agreement.

In another development, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) carved out an agreement to curb the rise of emissions from international aviation after 2020. Though some countries including India did have reservations about it.

This deal asks the countries to offset, voluntarily to begin with, any rise in their aviation emissions through activities like planting of trees or funding activities that reduce carbon emissions elsewhere.
Though 191 member countries approved of it, as of now, only 65 countries have decided to join the programme that will initially run from 2020 to 2026.

However, it has been considered a good beginning towards mitigating climate change pace.

Montreal Protocol- Amendment in Kaigali, Rwanda

To plug another hole of greenhouse gas emissions, countries had gathered in Kaigali to finalise an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to enable this 1989 ozone-protecting agreement to phase out the use of Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

HFCs are a class of gases that are several thousand times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

HFCs, used mainly in the coolant and refrigerant industry, are not ozone-depleting, and are hence not covered by the Montreal Protocol. They replaced Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which the Montreal Protocol phased out because they were destroying the ozone layer.
But, HFCs turned out to be very potent greenhouse gases, and unlike other GHGs that are being dealt with by the Paris Agreement, HFCs are sought to be eliminated through the Montreal Protocol as well.
It is estimated that a phasing out of HFCs by 2050 will prevent a 0.5-degree rise in global temperatures by the end of this century.
There is unanimity in deciding these targets as well as agreement that developed countries, which are both the bigger producers and bigger consumers of HFCs, have to begin phasing them out earlier.

Differences exist in the details, and four proposals are on the table — put forward by India, the US (North America), European Union, and the Small Island Countries.


It wants that developing countries like itself to begin the phase-out only from 2031.
It has promised to reduce their HFC production and consumption to 15% of what it would be in the ‘baseline year’ of 2028-30 (average of the figures in each of these years), by the year 2050.
But, it wants the developed countries to begin the phase-out in 2016 itself, and completely eliminate the production and consumption of HFCs by 2035.
USA and EU

It wants developed countries to begin the phase-out from 2019, and reach just 15% of the baseline year (2011-13) by 2036.
The EU wants the baseline year for developed countries to be 2015-16, and wants them to eliminate 85% of the baseline HFC production and consumption by 2034.
Both the US and EU want developing countries to begin by 2019, or latest by 2021, and eliminate 85%-90% by 2046.
There are supposed to be interim targets as well — the “phase-down schedule” — and those constitute further points of disagreement.

Developing countries seek to give their industry adequate time to discover and adapt to new technologies that would enable them to use HFC substitutes.
These countries are also seeking multilateral financing to support the shift to newer alternatives, want their industry to be given full conversion costs and also cost of a second conversion in cases where a transitional technology has to be deployed.

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