Who: Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
What: The 37th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group
The 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will work to an amendment to the Protocol in 2016 to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by first resolving challenges, starting at their 37th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG37) in Geneva.
OEWG37 is the first of a series of Montreal Protocol meetings scheduled to take place this year in accordance with the decision on the “Dubai Pathway on HFCs” adopted at the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Parties last November.
As specified in the decision, the parties will first resolve challenges of managing HFCs under the Protocol by generating solutions, then continue deliberations on ways of managing HFCs, including discussing the four proposed amendments to the Protocol to phase down HFCs submitted by 41 parties. They will also consider an initial report by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol on climate-friendly alternatives to ozone-depleting substances.
HFCs are chemicals used in air conditioning, refrigeration, foams and aerosols as replacements for many ozone-depleting substances that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that contribute to the warming of the climate. HFC emissions are growing rapidly, at a rate of about 7% per year. If the current mix of HFCs is unchanged, increasing demand could result in HFC emissions of up to 8.8 gigatonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050. This could potentially offset the climate benefits achieved by the Montreal Protocol, which has averted greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
An amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs would avoid estimated emissions of up to 105 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050, and up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century and continue protecting the ozone layer. It would also bring significant energy efficiency benefits that past phase-outs have always catalyzed when refrigerants were changed.
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